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.