5 August 2017

Ethiopia: Project to Fix City Riversides Underway

The Addis Ababa River & Riversides Development Project Office has floated a bid to hire a contractor to undertake a riverside project on 24 sites in the capital city with an estimated cost of 100 million Br.

The project will be fully funded by the City Administration, which already approved half of the budget two weeks ago while the remaining finance is expected to be approved halfway through the project.

More than 40 contractors have showed an interest to participate in the tender that will be opened after two weeks.

The Project Office has already selected Acute Engineering Plc as a consultant for the project. The Company offered close to two million Birr to supervise the work, beating Tewdrose Tsegaye Consulting & Engineers and the Ethiopian Construction Works Corporation.

The project involves developing drainage pipes, terrace lines and gabions, landscape designing, building small parks and erecting walls. The areas are found in six districts of the city, with half of the project in Lideta and Qirqos districts.

The Project Office selected the sites after reviewing various requests forwarded by residents. Slope, historical background and the type of soil is assessed to identify areas that are in need of urgent response. Depending on these factors, the Office identified 24 sites located around eight rivers of the city.

"The people who are living in the selected sites are in serious danger," said Debela Beru, deputy head of the Project Office.

It also considered a study of Addis Ababa University's Center for Environmental Science in choosing the sites. Three months ago, academicians and researchers from the University submitted the study after conducting a survey on four main rivers in the city for eight months on the aspects of pollution, socio-economic impact, design, legal loopholes and landscape.

The findings of the study show that more than 90pc of the rivers are mixed with sewerage lines, resulting in severe pollution. Also, the study showed that 77pc of the rivers is convenient for urban settlement.

"We used the findings of the University to design the project plan," said Debela Beru, deputy head of the Project Office.

There are around 720,000 people who are currently living along the selected riversides that will be refurbished in the next five months.

Seid Yimer lives in one of the 24 sites identified by the Project Office as the area needs critical attention.

"We are always flooded by the river every summer," said Seid, who lives near Gotera Condominium along Ghion River, in fear of floods as the rainy season has arrived. "Many properties were lost due to the flooding of the river over the past decade."

The project might result in the relocation of 50 households around each river, according to the Project Office.

These are not the only sites refurbished by the Project Office. Currently, the Office is undertaking revitalising four rivers at the cost of 53 million Br. Also, last week the Office floated a bid to hire a contractor for a 100 million Br project on Kechene River, which involves transforming the four kilometre long river with walkways, ponds and parks.

Founded two years ago, the Project Office aims to clean all rivers in the city in the next two decades.

Many studies indicate that Addis Abeba is exposed to various risks. Two years ago, a study conducted by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction & Recovery (GFDRR) found that the capital faces shocks including urban flooding, fire, earthquakes, water scarcity, unemployment and social vulnerability owing to growth in urbanisation.

The study suggested that enhancing resilience in Addis Abeba demands quick actions from the government.


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