Friday, February 21, 2014

Development Or Fraud? Another Coastal Paradise To Die For Big Oil

A new 32 berth port, to ship South Sudanese oil to China, is planned for the Lamu archipelago, a stunning green field heritage site in northern coastal Kenya, teeming with rare species, coral reefs and marine biodiversity and, of course, people. But none of this richness, or the indigenous people for whom this is home, seem to matter to the Government of Kenya and private developers.

In April 2013 the Kenya government granted a $484 million contract to a Chinese firm to put up the first three berths for the new Lamu Port in the first phase implementation process of the project. This followed the uprooting of prime mangrove trees in February, to pave the way for the construction of the first three berths and port administration office at Kilalana, a clearance that is nearly complete. The land was created from the felling of mangrove trees, comprising 30% of tree cover in Kenya.

 However, the developers and their government cronies paid scant regard to an environmental impact assessment, while those who lost their land are still waiting for compensation a year later. Indeed, only fraudsters are getting rich, while the port development has already made thousands of families destitute and hungry. With another 100,000 people potentially in the way of the gigantic development, the first phase portends badly for the rest of the development, since neither project affected persons nor the natural capital and biodiversity have been give the respect they are due by right, and by international law and convention.

Read the full, detailed article here

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