Archive for the 'displacement of people' Category

Page 2 of 14

Development Follows Devastation from Brazilian Dam

Photo retrieved from: www.ipsnews.net

“Valdenor de Melo has been waiting for 27 years for the land and cash compensation he is due because his old farm was left underwater when the Itaparica hydroelectric dam was built on the São Francisco river in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast.

“I’ll get them, I’m confident,” he told IPS, although he is worried it will be after he retires as a farmer. But the 60-year-old at least has a solid brick house, where he lives with part of his family in a purpose-built farming village where all of the homes look alike.

The Melo family is one of the 10,500 families displaced in 1988, according to official data, by the reservoir of the Itaparica dam, which generates 1,480 MW of electricity.

But the real number of people forced off their land by the dam is nearly double that – close to 80,000 people, Russell Parry Scott, an anthropologist from the U.S., wrote in his book “Negociações e resistências persistentes”, published in Portuguese. The book is based on studies carried out at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Northeast Brazil, where he is a professor.

Melo’s undying hope is based on the process that began with the construction of the dam and the 828-sq-km reservoir, which submerged four towns as well as riverbank fields along a 150-km stretch of the border between the states of Bahía and Pernambuco.

Unlike other hydropower plants in Brazil, the Itaparica dam triggered a successful, organised movement by the rural families who were displaced.”

Read more: IPS News

 

Water – Making It Personal: Communicating A Sustainable Future

“Throughout history, journalism and storytelling have defined civilization. Journalists are the first responders to global crises, the pointers to important trends and the translators between disciplines. Good journalists seek out knowledge, ask thoughtful questions, listen carefully and tell unforgettable stories. The art of the story, well-told, is a powerful force because it compels the resilience and connectedness of humanity.

In China, we have one of the richest, most complicated stories unfolding that the planet has ever seen. The country is the second largest economy after the US, and its economy tripled between 2000 and 2010. China’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 7% each year over the next 10 years.166

Yet our reporting found that the priceless energy beneath Wu Yun’s family grasslands may be trapped. China faces severe constraints to its GDP growth because it may not be able to continue to mine and process its coal at current rates. 167 Mines use copious amounts of water to extract and process coal, and as water supplies dwindle, production will slow.

Just as the account of Wu Yun’s life and choices framed the reporting that introduced the existence of water and energy stresses in Inner Mongolia and China, lives of people offer keen insight into the challenges and opportunities of sustainability, consumption and the dreams that drive them.”

Read More: Circle of Blue

You’re invited to Jenna Cavelle’s lecture “Environmental (In)Justice in Native America: The Case of the Owens Valley Paiute” Thursday, Nov 21st at UC Berkeley!

Environmental (In)Justice in Native America: The Case of the Owens Valley Paiute

Over the past 150-years the expropriation of land and water from aboriginal communities in the Owens Valley have had devastating impacts for both people and the environment. Impacts include but are not limited to; loss of land and water rights, increased air pollution, habitat destruction and water scarcity.  These effects have in turn led to erasure of cultural landscapes and caused enduring historical trauma. While non-Indian communities in the region have experienced similar Environmental Justice (EJ) issues, disproportionate exposures for the native community are due in large part to their exclusion from larger EJ discussions and narratives. This lecture will show how community-based projects can promote an EJ framework within tribes through inclusion, indigenous activism and participant media.

The lecture is from 12:30pm – 2pm at GPB 100 on UC Berkeley campus (across from Pat Brown’s). The lecture will begin with the 30-minute conclusion of the documentary film Mulholland’s Dream followed by a 50-minute talk with 10-minutes of Q&A. Following the lecture is the opening reception of Jenna Cavelle’s exhibition at the Bancroft Library titled Water & Culture: Recovering Owens Valley Paiute History. The reception will last from 2-4pm with Cavelle making remarks at 3pm.  For more information contact: jennacavelle@peakwater.org

Cavelle is a published environmental journalist and researcher with a degree in Conservation and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and is an entering MFA Candidate in Film at the University of Southern California (Spring 2014). Using a Political Ecology approach, her research examines human-environment interactions throughout the Citarum River Basin in West Java, Indonesia. Here, she explores the ecological, cultural, political, and economic factors that underlie water scarcity, degradation, and conflict with an emphasis on how local systems intersect with global forces to produce changes in access among differing groups.

Currently, Cavelle works with members of the Paiute Indian community of Owens Valley, California on a project that combines education, outreach, and technology to restore cultural memory associated with their ancient irrigation systems. These waterworks are currently in danger of being lost in the Owens Valley landscape through weathering and neglect. In addition, knowledge of the waterworks is also fading from American memory through the loss of culturally transmitted traditional knowledge. Through community engagement, her project works with tribal members to document Paiute irrigation networks and their role in shaping Paiute culture using museum exhibits, cartography and documentary film. While this project has real bearing on tribal customs and interests, it also informs larger local and regional communities.

The L.A. Aqueduct at 100

A hundred years ago — Nov. 5, 1913 — 40,000 people gathered in Sylmar to watch the water arrive for the first time via the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens Valley. It took 5,000 workers five years to complete the $23-million project, which was excavated with dynamite, hand shovels and mule power in rocky canyons and searing desert expanses.

We hope you enjoy this preview of what’s coming Monday, when The Times takes a look back at the aqueduct’s controversial history.

What to look forward to? More archival photos, film and front pages, plus modern photography and an aerial video tour at this page, beginning Monday.

Watch the Series: LA Times

Jenna Cavelle to Guest Lecture at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources: Nov 7th

Jenna Cavelle and Paiute Harry Williams being interviewed by NPR's The California Report

In “Water Wars: Native American Inclusion and Moving Toward Peace”, PeakWater.org Founder, Jenna Cavelle will share her recent work with the Owens Valley Paiute community with UC Berkeley undergraduates in a course titled  ESPM 100: Environmental Problem Solving.

Lecture Summary: “In considering water wars as a global phenomenon that is expected to rise as the climate changes, inclusion of all stakeholders is critical. The solutions for resource conflict are never straightforward but working toward peace begins with healing the historical trauma of affected communities. This lecture will showcase how community service and outreach are restoring cultural landscapes and memory of the Owens Valley Paiute, and in the process, re-imagining peaceful solutions to America’s longest-lived water war.”
November 7th, at 2pm in the Life Sciences Building, Room 101
For more information email: jennacavelle@peakwater.org

 

 

Residents Living on Citarum Riverbank Request to Be Relocated

Photo retrieved from: www.beritajakarta.com

“The residents living there are willing to be controlled as long as the government relocates them to somewhere else.

Chief of RW 01 Cideng, Dadang Suherman, said that the residents hope the government would relocate them if theirbuildings were demolished. But, the relocation place must be clear, such as to flats. “There has been socialization for thenormalization of water channels in RT 17 and 18 RW 01, but until now there is no relocation from the governmentrelated to demolishment of residents’ buildings,” he stated, Wednesday (10/23).
Meanwhile, Head of Gambir Sub-District, Henri Perez, told that today, Wednesday (10/23), is the deadline for residentsto demolish their buildings themselves. Previously, his party has sent warning letter for three times. “We have sent themthree warning letters to demolish their buildings,” he uttered.
According to Perez, there are 200 illegal buildings standing on Citarum riverbank. Later, his party will demolish thosebuildings using two excavators and also deploy a dump truck. After that, Central Jakarta Water Channels ManagementPublic Works Dub-Department will do the normalization. “We’ll demolish all of the buildings today. Then, thenormalization of Citarum River will be directly carried out,” he asserted.”
Read more: Berita Jakarta

Fukushima radiation readings spike to highest levels

Radiation readings around tanks holding contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have spiked by more than a fifth to their highest levels, Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday, heightening concerns about the cleanup of the worst atomic disaster in almost three decades.

Radiation hot spots have spread to three holding areas for hundreds of hastily built tanks storing water contaminated by being flushed over three reactors that melted down at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011.

The rising radiation levels and leaks at the plant further inflamed international alarm, one day after the Japanese government said that it would step in with almost $500 million of funding to fix the growing levels of contaminated water at the plant.

Readings just above the ground near a set of tanks at the plant showed radiation as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv), Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said Wednesday. The previous high in areas holding the tanks was the 1,800 mSv recorded Saturday.

READ MORE: Al Jazeera

Honduras: Where the blood flows and the rivers are dammed

Photo retrieved from: www.aljazeera.com

“Indigenous communities have been objecting to the illegal sale of their territory to transnational companies who seek to extract profits by harnessing and privatising communally-owned water.  Yet in September 2010, the Honduran National Congress awarded 41 hydroelectric dam concessions, during a time when the government of Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo’s legitimacy was still questioned by the majority of Latin American governments.

A month later, a coalition of indigenous groups, including members of the Tulupanes, Pech, Miskito, Maya-Chortis, Lenca and Garifuna peoples, convened a meeting to organise in resistance to the illegal concessions, many of which were granted on indigenous territory without proper consultation and consent of the groups.

These omissions violate International Labor Organization Convention 169, which requires that “Consultation with indigenous peoples should be undertaken through appropriate procedures, in good faith, and through the representative institutions of these peoples” and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous groups have also noted that various international mechanisms designed to address climate change have contributed to the exploitation and degradation of the land for which they have served as rightful and responsible stewards for generations. These include the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism and the Program of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). The rights of indigenous communities to prior informed consultation and consent are being bulldozed, just like their ancestral land.

The Agua Zarca Dam project in Garcia’s community is one of the disputed concessions, part of four interconnected dams along the Gualcarque River. The project is coordinated by a partnership between the Honduran company Desarrollos Energeticos S.A. (DESA), which owns the concession, and the Sinohydro Corporation of China, which seeks to develop the hydro-electric power. The web of investor friendly legislation and support from the Lobo administration empowers the companies to violate human rights with impunity.  According to Berta Caceres, General Coordinator of the indigenous coalition COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations) that seeks to defend indigenous territories, the companies are supported and protected by the Honduran security forces.”

Read more: Aljazeera

 

The Bullet That Killed Tomás Garcia

Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“The National Commission for Human Rights has calculated that there is a violent death every 74 minutes in this small nation of about eight million people. It has the highest murder rate in the world per capita.

But the bullet that killed Tomás Garcia came from an army officer, and was intended for killing the people who oppose construction of the Agua Zarca Dam in Honduras. Tomás – a Lenca indigenous leader active on local and national indigenous councils, as well as the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) – was killed while walking with his son and many other community members to continue the blockade of the project construction site. The army has been protecting the interests of Honduran dam owner Desarrollo Energético Sociedad Anónima (DESA) and Chinese dam builder Sinohydro – the largest dam builder in the world – not the interests and rights of citizens of the communities who would suffer the effects of the dam. Sinohydro is expected to follow its own safeguard policies, including respecting the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples.  But those policies rarely seem to leave the paper.

Lenca communities impacted by the 25-MW-dam’s construction have been blocking the access roads to the dam’s facilities since April 1, 2013.  But the story starts in September 2010, when 41 hydrolectric dam concessions were granted – by the regime that ousted President Manual Zelaya Rosales – without any consultations with the people who would lose their lands, culture and as we now see, their lives.”

 

Read more: International Rivers

Karuma Villagers Want Dam Halted

Photo retrieved from: www.allafrica.com

“After winning the contract for the construction of Karuma hydropower project, Chinese firm Sinohydro promised to start work within two weeks.

However, this might not be possible, following fresh wrangles that threaten to delay the project. Besides compensation wrangles, a rival Chinese company, China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE), has gone to court to challenge the award of the contract to Synohydro.

The families affected by the project have petitioned the Electricity Disputes Tribunal, pursuant to the Electricity Act, seeking to halt construction of the dam until compensation rates have been agreed on.
Once completed in seven years’ time, the dam is expected to spur economic growth.

In a representative suit between William Ogik versus Attorney General, more than 54 project-affected families are contesting the “meagre” compensation rates offered. According to the complainants, the rates are inconsistent with inflation trends in the country.

Ogik is one of the residents of Awoo and Diima villages, Mutunda sub-county, Kiryandongo district, who must pave way for the construction of the 600MW hydropower project. The Karuma dam project is to displace more than 400 families in the four villages of Karuma, Awoo, Nora, and Akurudia in Kiryandongo district.

“We want the project but we need to be reasonably compensated. We want the right value for our property,” Ogik told The Observer after appearing before the tribunal.”

Read more: The Observer