Entry Title: " Omo Odyssey"
Brent Stirton
, United States

Entry Description:

In the sprawling, desolate area that is the southern Omo Valley of southwestern Ethiopia, there exist several tribal groups that continue to live lives of voluntary isolation from the modern world, living as intact cultures as they have for centuries. Recently, however, the tribes that inhabit the area -- the Dassanech, Mursi, Hamar, Karo, Bume, Surma, Beshada and Erbore among others -- have come under increasing pressure from the outside world. Severe drought and the massive influx of automatic weapons from numerous regional conflicts have combined to intensify pastoralist conflicts and decimate wildlife resources. And now, there is a huge hydroelectric dam project on the Omo River, set to provide power to Ethiopia?s capital Addis Ababa. This will lessen the flow of the river to one fifth of its size and remove forever the flood plain so valuable to Omo Valley tribal farmers for its fertile agricultural potential. A geographically distant government in Addis Ababa appears to place little importance on the threat to these unique Omo Valley cultures and at this point it appears inevitable that the days of their existence as intact cultures are numbered. This shoot was commissioned by Discovery Communications as part of its Signature Series.

About the Artist: