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Guinea: Souapiti dam project comes under fire over village displacements

Author: The News International (Pakistan), Published on: 28 April 2020

“Guinea’s prized dam project under fire over village displacements”, 19 April 2020

… The inhabitants of Bouramaya Sousou, an impoverished village in central Guinea, now say they struggle to feed themselves and have not received any compensation -- complaints echoed by hundreds of others in the area…

… the builders of Souapiti dam say once operating it will meet demand for power, even allowing export of surplus electricity to neighbouring states.

But some 16,000 people must relocate first: the dam´s reservoir is set to flood the remote bush where they live.

Resettlement has begun, but many of the displaced people say they await compensation for losses and complain that the new villages lack water and suitable farmland.

In a mark of failure, hundreds have returned with their livestock to their old villages of low-slung mud huts. "They didn´t plan anything," said Oumar Aissata Camara, the spokesman for the Souapiti Victims´ Association, referring to the dam project.

The displaced villagers are "excessively poor," he added, warning that a botched resettlement could have dire consequences…

Dubbed West Africa´s water tower, Guinea´s highlands are the source of the region´s major rivers, including the Gambia, the Senegal, the Niger and the Konkoure…

But fresh water is scarce in the nation of some 13 million people. Power cuts, for those with electricity, are also rampant…

… [in 2016] a subsidiary of the China Three Gorges Corporation started building the dam…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says it has recorded a litany of similar complaints -- ranging from poor water access to uncompensated losses for fruit trees and farmland -- in dozens of interviews…

Guinea´s energy ministry and China Three Gorges Corporation did not respond to requests for comment…

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Related companies: China Three Gorges Corporation