Villagers Worried About Premature Construction on Laos’ Luang Prabang Dam

Radio Free Asia

Villagers living near the site of a planned large-scale Mekong River dam near the former royal capital of Laos say they are worried because the government has already begun construction on the project before its international approval process is complete, they told RFA.

The 1,460 megawatt, U.S. $3 billion Luang Prabang dam will displace 581 families or 2,285 people and will affect 20 other villages in the northern provinces of Luang Prabang and Oudomxay.

With an expected completion date of 2027, the dam is part of a planned cascade of 11 Mekong mainstream dams at the center of Laos’ controversial economic strategy to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia,” by selling the power to neighboring countries.

RFA reported last month that UNESCO requested another impact assessment because it was concerned that the dam could alter the nearby 16th century royal capital of Luang Prabang, a World Heritage Site and top tourist draw, to the point that it no longer deserves the coveted designation.

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