Kuraz is a woreda in the extreme south of Ethiopia. Part of the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Kuraz is bordered on the south by Kenya, on the west by the Ilemi Triangle (claimed by Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan), on the north by Selamago, and on the east by the Omo River which separates it from Hamer Bena. The administrative center of this woreda is Omorate.
This woreda is located in part of the semi-arid lowlands which support agro-pastoral groups who are at various stages of transition from nomadic to sedentary livelihoods. High points in this woreda include Mount Nakua (912 meters), which is part of the Korath range. According to a 2004 report, Kuraz had 55 kilometers of all-weather roads and 48 kilometers of dry-weather roads, for an average road density of 20 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers.
Kuraz was greatly affected by the August 2006 Omo River floods, which drowned at least 364 people and isolated tens of thousands more. A team led by Regional President Shiferaw Shigute visited the affected sites on 16 August to assess the impact of the flooding and identify the immediate humanitarian needs.
Located in this woreda is the Fejej archeological site, which a team led by Henry de Lumley, Professor Emeritus at the National Museum of Natural History, and Yonas Beyene, Head of the Archaeological and Anthropological Department of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage of the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport found rich with remains of animals and artifacts perfectly intact and particularly well conserved, which were dated as being 1.96 million years old. These excavations were conducted between 1992 and 2002, and the findings published in 2004.
Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this woreda has an estimated total population of 68,595, of whom 34,892 were males and 33,703 were females; 3,363 or 9.6% of its population are urban dwellers, which is greater than the Zone average of 8.5%. With an estimated area of 5,034.53 square kilometers, Kuraz has an estimated population density of 13.6 people per square kilometer, which is less than the Zone average of 21.05.
In the 1994 national census Hamer Bena had a population of 48,165, of whom 24,489 were men and 23,676 women; 1,857 or 3.86% of its population were urban dwellers. The three largest ethnic groups reported in this woreda were the Daasanach (66.44%), the Nyangatom (29.38%), and the Amhara (1.31%); all other ethnic groups made up 2.87% of the population. Daasanach was spoken as a first language by 66.42% of the inhabitants, 29.36% spoke Nyangatom, and 2.46% spoke Amharic; the remaining 1.87% spoke all other primary languages reported. Concerning education, 3.77% of the population were considered literate. Concerning sanitary conditions, about 64% of the urban and 6% of the total had toilet facilities.
- "Field Trip Report to South Omo zone and Konso wereda (SNNPRS)", UNDP-EUE, May 1996 (accessed 19 February 2009)
- "Detailed statistics on roads", SNNPR Bureau of Finance and Economic Development website (accessed 15 September 2009)
- Ethiopia floods cut off thousands (BBC) 18 August 2006
- "OCHA Situation Report No. 1 South Omo Valley Floods – Ethiopia" (accessed 8 February 2009)
- "Ethiopia - Fejej: Excavation sites in the Fejej region (South Omo Province, Ethiopia)", France Diplomatie website (accessed 15 March 2010)
- CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.3
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 1, Tables 2.1, 2.7, 2.12, 2.15. (accessed 30 December 2008)
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 2, Table 3.7 (accessed 17 April 2009)
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 2, Table 6.11 (accessed 17 April 2009)