Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers plead for dam halt



Villagers plead for dam halt

Villagers plead for dam halt

110408_5
Eik Shivon (right) raises concerns about a proposed dam in Laos yesterday in Phnom Penh.

As a regional decision on Laos’ controversial US$3.8 billion Xayaburi hydropower dam approaches, Cambodian villagers who say their livelihoods are under threat have called for the project to be stopped.

Fouy Shouk travelled from Ratanakkiri’s Feung village, in Veun Sai district’s Pong commune, to make her concerns about the dam known at a press conference held yesterday in Phnom Penh.

“We note that our government tries hard to develop our country,” she said, listing new schools and roads as significant achievements.  “But we also see that some plans for development are not so good, like the dams proposed, especially in Xayaburi in Laos.”

She said the dam would affect the quality of the river’s water, prevent fish from migrating and cause severe draughts. This would diminish fish populations, agricultural productivity and local incomes.

“We ask all, the King and other people, if they hear our voices, please stop [the construction of] the dam,” Fouy Shouk said.  “The river is our life.”

Eik Shivon, also made the trip to the capital from Sma village, located in Siem Bouk district’s Koh Sralay commune in Stung Treng province, to say that he and others from his community oppose the dam.

“There will be an impact on the fish migration. Fish will decline, and the water fluctuation will change,” he said.

Meach Mean, coordinator for the 3S Rivers Protection Network, said that the group estimates around six million Cambodians will be affected by the dam.

The Mekong River Commission, a regional body created to facilitate joint management and development of shared water resources among Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, will convene a special meeting on the project on April 19.  A decision on whether it will endorse the dam is expected by April 22.

A review by the MRC of documents related to the project released last month estimated that a full 2.5 million tonnes per year, or six percent of fishery yields, would be lost if the dam is built.

Te Navuth, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Mekong Committee, said yesterday the government has not yet come to a position on whether it will support the building of the dam, adding that officials have raised concerns about the dam with Laos.

Chith Sam Ath, executive director of NGO Forum, appealed to the company building the dam and the Laos government to conduct a clear study about how the project would affect people living downstream.

Thailand is expected to purchase 95 percent of the electricity from the dam, which would be built by a Thai company CH Karnchang Public Company Limited.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting