Nearly 500 Families to be Displaced This Month for Laos’ Fifth Mekong River Dam

Radio Free Asia –

A new Mekong river dam in Laos’ Luang Prabang province will displace up to 465 families this month, the latest in the continuing trend of hydropower projects forcing villagers to relocate all over the country.

Residents of 10 villages in Luang Prabang’s Chomphet district must be prepared to move to make room for the Luang Prabang dam, the fifth in a series of nine dams proposed on the Mekong mainstream in Laos, two of which are now in various stages of construction.

“[The authorities] said the villagers will be moving soon, within this month according to their plans,” said an official of Luang Prabang’s Labor and Social Welfare Department in an interview with RFA’s Lao Service Thursday.

“They have to have an agreement in place before they can start construction,” said the official.

The official said that the Chomphet residents would be the first to have to move because the initial construction site for the dam is in their area.

According to the official, plans for compensation are not complete. Authorities are still collecting information about losses each family will incur because of the displacement. There has been no official statement on when compensation payments would be ready.

An official of Chomphet district, who requested anonymity, said the entire dam project will affect a total of 1,077 families.

Read more