Sudan’s Islamic Fiqh Academy calls for precautionary action against potential GERD collapse, malfunction

Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Aug 2022

The Sudanese Academy of Islamic Fiqh has called on the government to take precautionary action to counter the threats of the potential collapse of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and possible technical or administrative errors during its operation.

GERD: Ominous repercussions


In an official statement circulated by the Sudanese media on Wednesday, the government-owned academy said Ethiopia should be responsible for fixing any administrative or technical problems or natural circumstances that might take place during the operation of GERD.

The academy stressed that the Ethiopian commitment in this regard should be guaranteed.

The Sudanese government has to work on spreading awareness among the people of the dangers associated with the establishment of the mega dam, the statement added.

The academy shed light on a number of technical concerns regarding GERD, saying it discussed the project with experts in the fields of engineering, water, geology, environment, physics, and law.

The academy's statement denounced GERD’s location that may not be compliant with geological conditions and cautions, including having a safe distance from earthquake zones, landslides, and other factors that may result in its collapse even after several decades or centuries.

“The possibility that the dam collapses still exists,” the academy asserted.

The academy warned that the huge amount of water stored behind the dam may affect the geological formation of the area and rifts can take place under the dam’s concrete body.

The wide swathes of water behind the dam can also affect climate change in this area, which can have harmful impacts on the Sudanese people, the statement added.

The academy also warned against a “hidden goal” behind the establishment of the Ethiopian dam.

“Filling the energy shortage [in Ethiopia] does not require such a huge dam, which indicates that there is another hidden goal that may harm the Sudanese people,” the statement warned.

On 26 July, Ethiopia told Egypt in a message that it would start the third filling of the GERD reservoir during the current flood season, which lasts from July till September, despite not reaching an agreement with the two downstream countries on the filling and operation of the mega dam.

Egypt and Sudan have reiterated that they do not oppose development in Ethiopia but want the upperstream country to sign a legally-binding deal on the filling and operation of the dam to secure their water and people’s interests, a demand that Ethiopia rejects.

While Egypt has expressed concerns over its water share as a result of filling the dam’s reservoir without a deal, Sudan has warned that GERD could threaten the lives and safety of millions of Sudanese people. 

African Union-sponsored talks have been stalled since the last round in Kinshasa, DR Congo, in April 2021, with the downstream countries blaming Ethiopian “intransigence” for the failure of the decade-long talks.

The two countries have repeatedly called on the international community to persuade Ethiopia to stop its unilateral acts on GERD, the last of which is its ongoing third filling of the dam’s reservoir.

Late last month, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry sent a letter to the Security Council protesting against the Ethiopian decision to go ahead with the third filling.

Shoukry urged the UNSC to intervene to ensure the implementation of the presidential statement issued by the UNSC in September, which obligates the three countries to negotiate to reach an agreement on the GERD as early as possible.

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