Laos: Two large-scale Mekong dams will start operations amid environmental & social controversy

Author: Eugene Whong, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 19 October 2019

"Two Large Mekong River Dams in Laos to Start Operations by End of Year", 15 October 2019

The first two of five planned large-scale Lao dams on the Mekong river are set to go online before the end of this year, amid controversy over their impact on the environment and people's livelihoods.

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... NGO International Rivers (IR)...said..."Major predicted impacts include the destruction of Mekong migratory fisheries and trapping of sediment, preventing it from traveling downstream. The dam's environmental impacts in turn threaten the food, livelihoods and socio-cultural systems of populations residing within the river basin,"...

International Rivers also pointed out that during the consultation process, concerns were raised regarding the "adequacy of the data and studies," which caused the Vietnamese government to call for the project's suspension. Meanwhile in Thailand, a lawsuit was filed in 2012 but remains pending.

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Though the Lao government sees power generation as a way to boost the country's economy, the projects are controversial because of their environmental impact, displacement of villagers, and questionable financial arrangements.

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