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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Viets say sorry for Se San flow

Viets say sorry for Se San flow

VIETNAMESE authorities have apologized for discharging water from the Yali falls

dam in the recent months causing flooding and current surges that claimed the lives

of at least five people.

Bun Hom Oun Many, second deputy governor of Ratanakkiri province, said the Vietnamese

provincial authorities have met with the Ratanakkiri authorities to apologize and

assure them that no more water will be released without adequate warning to Cambodian

residents likely to be affected.

The Yali falls dam was built in a gorge in Vietnam on the Se San river. The river

then flows through Cambodia to the Mekong. When water from the dam has been discharged

it has had a huge impact in Cambodia where the river widens and travels through farming

areas. The sudden surges in current have destroyed crops, fishing equipment and boats

have been swept away and in the single most tragic incident, three young women were

swept away and drowned when their boat was overturned.

Oun Many said he is now hopeful such incidents won't be repeated. He said he told

the Vietnamese authorities that: "You must be careful of incidents in the future.

We live close to each other; don't do it again."

Kham Khoeun, governor of Ratanakkiri province, said the Cambodian Government had

not demanded compensation from the Vietnamese but it urged them not to repeat the

discharge of water without warning. He said he would be pleased if they did pay compensation

but was not going to demand it.

He said the physical damage had not been too great and the Vietnamese authorities

had just provided 10 tonnes of rice seed to Ratanakkiri province

Meanwhile a Cambodian delegation led by Hou Taing Eng, Secretary General of the Cambodia

National Mekong Committee (CNMC), and composed of relevant ministries and provincial

authorities, met their counterparts in Vietnam at the site of the dam last week.

They agreed to a five-point plan on information sharing and management of operations:
1. Vietnam is to give appropriate warning and information on the release

of water from the dam.

2. Water discharged was to be released gradually.

3. Under normal circumstances 15 days advance notice of discharge would be given.

4. In emergency, water could be immediately discharged.

5. An environmental mitigation study needs to be completed.

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