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Sudanese farmers say Merowe dam flooding villages
Thursday 31 July 2008.
July 30, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Villagers complained Tuesday that a massive Chinese-engineered hydropower dam under construction in Sudan had deliberately flooded seven small villages and left 200 families homeless.
Mohamed Said Ahmed, from an executive committee that represents 25 villages around the Merowe dam, 300 kilometers north of Khartoum, said homes had been under water for days and local residents faced food shortages. The dam shut its gates last Thursday, he told AFP, flooding seven villages.
The Sudanese government and villagers are locked in talks to relocate local residents, with the dam scheduled for completion by the year-end. "There has been no agreement and now they closed the gates of the dam to pressure us to leave," Ahmed said. "The water could cover all 25 villages, putting 1,000 families under water," he added. Villagers demand the government rebuild them new homes along the Nile.
Dam officials were not available for comment on Tuesday. The $1.8-billion Merowe dam is intended to double Sudan’s power production but is likely to displace tens of thousands of tribesmen. The largest such project on the Nile since the Aswan high dam was built in southern Egypt in the 1960s, it is being developed by China’s CCMD consortium with the assistance of European companies including France’s Alstom SA.
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