Time to tame the “lion river”

Posted on September 1, 2010


The Dechatu River in Ethiopia is a threat to people living on its banks. But it also offers opportunities. “If we use it properly, it’s important source in our lives,” says a riverside resident. “If we don’t, it will destroy us.”

His flip-flops sink away in the mud as farmer Abdullah Moussa from Gende Ada, a village on the outskirts of the Ethiopian city Dire Dawa, walks around on his orange plantation. The fields are swampy.

It has been raining in the highlands recently, causing a small flash flood to find its way into the desert town. Abdullah heavily relies on these incidental spatters: it offers a unique opportunity to irrigate his fields.

To make the most of the rain, he has dug a simple channel, which leads the water from the river to his fields. “After a flood like this, my crops can survive for fifteen days without water,” he says.

But the Dechatu river is not always helpful. In August 2006, it revealed its destructive face… Read the full report in English and French on the website of Radio Netherlands Worldwide.