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Malawi activist say oil drilling near Lake Malawi could compromise livelihoods for about 1.5 million people
Author: Maeve McClenaghan, Joe Sandler Clarke & Lawrence Carter, Energy Desk , Published on: 24 November 2016
In Malawi, campaigners and NGOs have expressed serious concerns over the consequences of any oil exploration. Most of Malawi’s oil license blocks overlap Lake Malawi, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The vast body of water is home to Nile crocodiles, hippopotamus, monkeys, and African fish eagles, as well as supporting the livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people living on its shores.
Its southern-most shores are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site and local experts have expressed fears that oil exploration anywhere on the lake could have devastating results. Rafiq Hajat, chair of the International Alliance on Natural Resources in Africa, a network of civil society organisations across the continent, explained: “If there was any spill on Lake Malawi it will ruin a pristine, aquatic ecosystem. It would take up to 700 years to replenish. It is an incredibly fragile system.”
...Malawian campaigner Godfrey Mfiti has travelled around the borders of the lake talking with villages chiefs in the area. “People are not happy with the situation at hand,” he told Energydesk. “They depend on the fisheries for their livelihoods, and their families have lived there for centuries. Even though drilling hasn’t happened yet, in the areas where exploration is being done we’re already seeing low counts of fish.” He is calling on Surestream to produce a human rights impact report, exploring the impact any drilling would have on local communities.
Related companies: Surestream Petroleum