نحن،الاحياء الاموات

We, The Living Dead

Ahmed Gaber

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This project aims to display the effects of water shortage in Egypt, including the damage that has reached my family and other Delta farmers whose living depends solely on agriculture.

The Nile Delta in Egypt sits at the end of the longest river in the world. It is home to almost half of the country’s population, who are mostly farmers that rely on the Nile for irrigation. Population growth, climate change, sea level rise, sewage drainage, garbage, factory residue, and poor water management are having a profound effect on communities in the Nile Delta. Today farmers struggle to access clean water, which affects their crop production and their health. There is a sharp rise in kidney failure from drinking the polluted water, and respiratory disease from the toxic air it emits.

Thousands of miles from Egypt’s Delta, construction on the Renaissance Dam continues in Ethiopia. Once finished, this dam will inevitably cause an increasing drop in Egypt’s share of the water, putting additional pressure on the Nile Delta farmers. Filling the dam reservoir will disrupt the flow of the Nile to Egypt, and once filled, experts predict a 25% decrease in the freshwater flow. Due to water shortage, the Egyptian government passed a new law that prohibits the cultivation of several kinds of crops, one of which is rice. In some villages of the Nile Delta, fines are imposed on those farmers who dare to cultivate rice and other staple crops.

Egypt has a population of 100 million on track to double by 2050. The growing population needs more food and fresh water for drinking and irrigation. In 1940, water availability was at 90 cubic feet per capita per year. This ratio has decreased to 30 cubic feet per capita per year in 2018, and the government expects the ratio to be further reduced in near future.

We, The Living Dead is a testament to the struggles faced by Nile Delta communities in Egypt.

Nile River Delta, Egypt

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A NASA image of the Nile River Delta as seen from space.

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Farmers from Bahr El-Tibn getting ready to go fishing in the fish farms near their village early in the morning. Many farmers also fish on the side to get their family’s daily needs.

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The pigeon house in my family’s house.

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A child playing with the scarecrow in his family’s private agricultural land in Al-Buhaira.

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My uncle Karim, 72, is a farmer in Beheira Governorate on the western Nile Delta. He told me how the community is suffering from severe water problems related to shortage and pollution. The canals are drying up, and they don’t know the reasons why. They are now filled with garbage. Farmers have resorted to using groundwater for irrigation even though it is saturated with minerals that harm the soil, but there are few alternative solutions.

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Cracks appear as traces of drought on land in Al-Buhaira - using underground water rich in slats harms the lands.

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One of the children in Bahr Al-Tibn washing himself in sewage water.

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Cousins playing hide and seek.

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Nour Eid having lunch on the land following a long day of work.

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Karim Eid makes a living on corn harvest from his farm. Many farmers resort to the cultivation of crops like corn, because it does not need a large amount of irrigation water.

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Kids playing hide and seek in Al-Buhira, Egypt.

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One of the farmers in Bahr Al-Tibn washing his horse with sewage water. Many animals in the village became weak and sick from drinking the sewage water.

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Abdelrahman Mahmmoud is six years old. He told me that he and his friends in the village used to fish in the riverbed right in front of the house. Now, these canals are dismantled and there is no water. There’s nothing but garbage left, so the children invent games to entertain themselves.

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Harvest in Bahr El-Tibn. The crops became weak and full of illnesses due to being watered with sewage water.

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Abdo Sharbat with the pigeons that he keeps.

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One of the farmers praying in a mosque in Bahr El-Tibn.

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Wajibat Hassan, 60, poses for a portrait at her home. She has been suffering from kidney failure for three years.

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Soad Ibrahim, 45, was unable to address pollution problems on her family’s land in Dakahlya, Egypt due to financial problems.

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Bakr Ali Mubarak, 31, has a diploma in agriculture and owns his own chicken farm, which he started to gain an extra income in addition to farming. Bakr says the water reaching his village is filled with diseases, and they are forced to water the land with it due to insufficient alternatives. This water comes from the drainage of the Gharbiya Governorate water and includes sewage and factory residue.

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Farmers from Bahr El-Tibn getting ready to go home after a rough day of harvesting tomatoes. Many women from different villages work for other people on their lands for 30 pounds and a bucket of tomatoes a day.

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Farmers from Bahr El-Tibn working on harvesting tomatoes for a small amount of money and a bucket of tomatoes.

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The water station in Bahr El-Tibn contains sewage water and factory waste.

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Children from Bahr El-Tibn no longer want to work as farmers like their parents.

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Amina Ghazy, 36, fainted on her bed from kidney failure. Amina’s husband left her because he couldn’t afford the cost of her medications. Amina told me that she must go on dialysis four times a week in a hospital far from her home because there is no hospital near her.

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Kareem Eid watches television with his grandkids at his home in Al-Buhaira.

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Mahmoud Khalil, 70, has kidney failure. He must undergo dialysis three times a week in a far away hospital. There is a nearby hospital in village where he lives, but there are few available doctors. He left farming as soon as he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

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Nour Eid, 58, gets ready for his day on his farm. "I was supposed to buy a new pump to bring mineral water to irrigate my land, but its not an ultimate solution, as that water also affects the land.”

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Um Issam holds her grandson as he receives a treatment session with the respiration device that helps him breathe. Many children in Bahr El-Tibn are born with respiratory problems as a consequence of the toxic fumes from the sewage water that reduces their immunity to fight infections.

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A family home in Al Buhira, Egypt.

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Residents of Al-Warraq Island, in Cairo, wait in lines to fill their water tanks, as the island suffers from a drinking water crisis.

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One of the many dead animals which are thrown in Bahr El-Tibn’s canal rots in the water. Farmers use water from that canal to water their plants.

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Farmers stand on their land impacted by water pollution in Belqas Dakahkya, Egypt.

Ahmed Gaber

Egypt

Ahmed Gaber is an Egyptian photographer born in 1996, in Al-Buhaira governorate in the Nile Delta. He found his passion in photography in 2012, and started working with local newspapers and magazines. His work has been was exhibited in Egypt, London, and Dubai. He is currently working as a freelance photographer and completing his studies at Alexandria University.
www.instagram.com/ahmedgaaber
agaber904@gmail.com