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29 Mar 2020

Narin Sun, VOA

Cambodia: Sesan ethnic communities restart their lives two years after being affected by Sesan II dam development project

"Two Years on, Sesan’s Ethnic Communities Attempt to Restart Their Lives", 30 March 2020

Fut Kheun has been keeping a close watch on the water levels at the Sesan II reservoir, in the remote Srekor commune of Stung Treng province.

The ethnic Kreung villager is living close to the water at the reservoir, two years after ethnic minority communities were forced from their homes to make way for the 400MW Sesan Dam reservoir. Fut Kheun’s family is among the 60 that have rejected government compensation and have chosen to remain close to their ancestral lands…

The Sesan II dam was highly controversial and a leaked government-commissioned study had warned of a devastating impact on the Mekong’s fisheries and ecosystem. Fish stocks were expected to drop 9.3 percent across the Mekong Basin, according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S…

The Chinese-funded dam, run by the Royal Group, has wreaked havoc on Lao and Kreung ethnic communities, who, …, are still attempting to restore their way of life. The villagers have kept watch of the waters to make sure that they can settle down in newly-created villages.

… A majority of the Lao and Kreung indigenous minority villagers who lived in the villages, …, accepted compensation from the government to move to new villages.

About 800 other families … reluctantly accepted the government’s offer, after years of protesting in vain against the construction…

Environmental activists had warned of a heavy environmental and socio-economic impact beyond just the 33,000-hectare reservoir, …

Part of the following timelines

Cambodia: Groups raise alarm over severe food, livelihood, environmental, cultural impacts of Lower Sesan 2 Dam project; companies do not respond

Cambodia: Communities impacted by Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Project seek IFC dispute resolution process; Companies' responses