Archive for December, 2017


Djibouti made to starve??

When groundwater or surface water are not available there is meaning in devising improved methods for irrigation and planning for supply of safe drinking water for rural population. But the financial institutions insists on such methods to lift the poverty levels of countries in the Middle east. Certain aid agencies go one step ahead and “to train the local population to dig wells” is one of the objective of a financial institution. This refers to Djibouti, the country that receives < 300 mm of rain in a year and the rural population are below the poverty line and are starving. The Djibouti town is well taken care of since the elite live in the city. This country imports 100% energy and food. There is no agriculture since there is no water. The cultivated area is about 1250 ha while the total area of the country is 23,200 km2!!. One can count the number of farmers engaged in agriculture.....1700!! All international aid agencies are interested in pouring money for improved water supply, lying pipe line to rural areas for safe drinking water, digging new wells etc etc. A futile exercise in an area where there is no water. It is like attempting to grow paddy in a desert!!It is difficult to understand whether such policies and plans are international or ignorance. Science has an answer but it is not a part of this policy or plan. Earth has given free energy at the surface...what else one needs. East and west, the country is sizzling with geothermal that is free and waiting to be utilized. Had the aid amount over the last decade been utilized in developing geothermal energy at Lake Asal and Lake Abhe, by now Djibouti could have been a country with flourishing economy with food and energy security with water for every one. It is difficult to understand why such easy solutions are ignored by the policy and makers and financial institutions. If the country is provided with plenty of fresh water, desalinated from the sea, the poverty, hunger and health are solved for ever. Large area can be brought under cultivation, job can be created and children can be saved from starvation. Scientist have provided the data on the amount of energy (electricity) that can be generated from these sites is published in top rated scientific journals. All such data and solutions are gathering dust. It is high time the aid institutions wake up and look in to the data and channelize the funds in a meaningful way rather than training locals on “how to dig wells”. It is a question of mindset, sincerity and determination of the policy makers. It is not only Djibouti...look at other countries around the Red Sea that has natural heat waiting to be harnessed. These countries are experiencing famine year after year. When technology can send man to the moon, discover new solar system, fly pilot free flights, make missiles.....can’t the same technology come out with a solution to tap the energy beneath everyone’s feet? If this cannot be done, then it is a shame on it not true? Whether it is IMF, ADBs, UNICEF, UN, JICA, EU .....all of them should focus on developing resources that can solve the problems for ever in such countries.