Ethiopia: Work Round the Clock At GERD Site

"It is an awe-inspiring experience to visit the construction site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at least for two reasons- you observe the commitment of the Engineers and workers with dropped jaws, and amble imagining that this place will form a huge water body in just few years."

The remark was given by Ethiopian Film Makers Association President, Desalegn Hailu, whom this reporter met last Sunday in a sightseeing event at GERD project site, Guba district of Benishangul Gumuz State.

Construction machinery such as excavators, dump-trucks... emits huge noises and everyone is working with sense of urgency, he recounted.

Their time reckoning system seems not to go with the usual one - readying oneself at dawn for work, and getting back to home at dusk.

At any given time, ten to fifteen thousand people are on duty.

More than anything else, Desalegn could not stop admiring their dedication enduring the beating temperature of the site.

He is sure that the artificial lake that would lie behind the Dam would become a huge attraction in the future besides generating 6,450 MW of power--to feed the national grid-system with clean energy, and export the same to neighboring countries and beyond. "When it comes to completion, it will also be impeccable film-shooting location to the film industry in particular and an inspiration to artists as a whole."

Ministry of Culture and Tourism Public and International Relations Director Gezahagn Abate, also a visitor, threw his comments about his observation.

"This is my fifth round to be here. But, every time I come, I see astounding changes.

"During this round, I have seen the progresses of physical structure of Dam and its saddle dams in my naked eyes... I am notified that the transmission lines and the hydro-mechanical works are also in short distance to the finishing line."

To cut the long story short, all the achievements are the results of the hero and heroines who are working round the clock here. "I have taken a lifelong lesson from their endurance."

Briefing visitors, Eng._Simegnew Bekele, Project Manager of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said so many visitors were to jump out of their skins when they observe the hard-working youth and the ensuing achievement.

"We are not only building a mark of Ethiopians' unity, we are also installing monument that depicts equitable and reasonable use of Nile waters."

He also stressed that neighboring and other African countries would benefit from the energy generation.

"GERD Project has served in triggering broader regional collaboration on economic development and environmental protection," he emphasized.

The blessings from GERD are too many, he said, enumerating some of them as clean and affordable energy, drought mitigation, and emission reduction, regional stability [interconnecting neighboring countries with power and providing regulated flow of water to downstream countries... .] are just to mention a few.

"All the successes achieved so far are the result of the strong people who work here day and night as well as the supports of Ethiopians."

He claimed that if hydropower dams are to be built anywhere on earth, then Ethiopia is one of the main candidates for its suitability in all respects due to its many rivers as well as topography.

The construction of GERD was commenced in April 2, 2011. Currently, the GERD project is 64 percent complete.

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