The El Multaga resettlement site - Sudan's Chinese backed Merowe Dam is for the greater benefit of Sudan
"Archaeologists have come under pressure to down tools from campaigners against the dam, who claim that their activity lends the project legitimacy.
Derek Welsby, the deputy keeper of the British Museum's department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, who is currently excavating near the village of ed Doma, rejected this. "The dam is going ahead whether we are here or not and it would not benefit anybody if we were not working here," he said.
He admitted that it was sad to witness the end of a lifestyle that has continued, unchanged in many ways, since it was first depicted in the ancient rock etchings.
"You sense continuity from Neolithic times with their representations of elephants, giraffes and ostriches, to the cattle drawings of the Kerma period, and followed by drawings of camels, horses and fighting men," he said.
Ali Yousef, a date palm farmer in ed Doma, voiced fears that the artificially irrigated desert land offered in government resettlement pledges might not be as fertile as that on the Nile's banks, but added: "We have to accept that the dam is for the greater benefit of Sudan."
[Link via Egyptology News: Flooding Nubia - again]
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The El Multaga resettlement site
Telegraph article above says environmental groups estimate the Merowe Dam project will lead to the displacement of about 50,000 people - small farmers and their families, who have tilled the Nile's fertile banks for centuries.
According to International Rivers Network (IRN), Sudan intends to assess four potential hydropower sites in South Sudan, which could result in a sizable hydropower investment program beginning as early as 2007.
Photo (IRN): The El Multaga resettlement site, where some of those being resettled for Merowe Dam (also known as Hamdab or Hamadab Dam) have been moved, is a barren stretch of desert.
IRN says "the 174-km-long reservoir will inundate an area rich in history and antiquities dating back 5,000 years. Project planning has been non-transparent, and people who will be directly affected by it have not had their voices heard. Dissent has been met with harsh government repression." Full story.
Jan 4, 2006: Nubians will be displaced from ancient seat by lake built for Merowe Dam
May 2, 2005: Sudan: The Merowe/Hamadab Dam Project