Lao Villagers Displaced by Dams at Luang Prabang Nevertheless Wait for Promised Land

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Over 600 households displaced by the building of two dams at a northern Lao state five decades ago are still waiting for land on which to farm and forever settle, and are calling on governments for aid, Lao resources say.

The villagers, moved out of their territory in Luang Prabang state’s Xieng-Ngeun district to generate way for its China-backed Nam Khan two and Nam Khan 3 dams, were transferred into temporary peaks between 2016 and 2018 and have fought since then to earn a living, villagers told RFA’s Lao Service.

Despite official claims, no soil for a permanent settlement was promoted yet, and villagers who previously farmed and raised cows walk back daily to unflooded areas close to their older houses 10 km) Off to plant and garden crops, 1 villager stated on July 27.

“Yes, we return to perform farming in our old village,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We weren’t given enough land on which to farm, and anyhow it is not comfy to farm at a spot that is not our property.” “That is only the area where we must live,” he explained.

Compensation paid for missing orchards and vegetable plots has also been insufficient, the villager added.

“Every village has been awarded from 4 to 5 million kip [U.S. $553] into 10 to 20 million kip [U.S. $2,211], based on how much they’d actually generated,” he explained. “That was much too small, and as for replacement property, we’ve not received anything yet.”

Another villager stated that provincial governments had formerly come to gather info on how villagers could be impacted by the dams, but no one has displaced displaced citizens since then to allow them to know just how much land they’ll be granted, or if it’s going to be assigned.

“They said they’d let influenced villagers know. We’ll wait to hear regardless of how much time it takes,” he added.

Suitable property difficult to locate

Property is already allocated to approximately 100 of those families moved to make way for construction of the dams, an official in Luang Prabang’s ecological department told RFA this week.

“We’d asked for a funding by the proprietors of their dams, plus they gave us roughly 2-3 hectares for each household, but we don’t have any territory for a number of households,” he stated, adding that land acceptable for farming from the 600 households staying is difficult to discover in the state’s mountainous locations.

The 126-megawatt Nam Khan two and 130 megawatt Nam Khan 3 dams went into surgery in 2016 and have been assembled by China’s Sinohydro Corporation. They were financed by a Lao expense of U.S. $350 million and a interest-free Chinese government charge of $308.5 million.

Impoverished and underdeveloped Laos has assembled dozens of hydropower dams on the Mekong and its tributaries in its quest to become”the battery life of Southeast Asia,” imitating the power they generate to other nations in the area.

Though the Lao government sees hydropower exports as a means to raise the nation’s economy, even prior to the July 2018 tragedy the jobs had become controversial due to their ecological effect, displacement of villagers, along with questionable financial structures.

supplied by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Manichanh Phimphachanh. Written in English from Richard Finney.


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