Environmental threat to Mekhong River
Since 2007, Ch. Karnchang, one of Thailand’s largest construction companies, has been preparing plans to build a massive 1,260 MW dam on the Mekong River’s mainstream at the Kaeng Luang rapids, 30 kilometers from Xayabouri town. This dam would affect thousands of local people directly, and millions more indirectly due to its impact on the Mekong River and its interconnected ecosystems.
The planned Xayaburi dam will force 2100 people to resettle, losing their houses, their livelihoods and the homelands, with all those memories washed away . The whole project includes a further 11 dams, which combined will affect over 63000 people. Past expeerience has shown that little care is paid to human rights and evacuations have been carried out with buldozers, people have been relocated to areas without tap water or electricity, and few receive little or no compensation at all.
The goverments have promised money and housing, but houses and electricity are not jobs or food. Houdon, the fisherman from Lao, says: ‘We don’t control anything and we worry about our future. We worry they [dam builders] will try to fool us with money. But money doesn’t last. And we can’t eat electricity. Only the river can sustain our life and our children life’.
The Xayaburi dam, if built, will block critical fish migration routes to the Mekong’s upper stretches as far upstream as Chiang Saen in northern Thailand that is an important spawning ground for the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish. The dam would destroy the river’s complex local ecosystems that serve as important fish habitats for local and migratory species
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