“We are extremely concerned about projects for large hydroelectric plants that do not take into account the culture and voices of the people of the Mekong Basin, whose living conditions and beliefs are deeply connected with the river.”
This phrase was pronounced by the Mekong Agreement, an intergovernmental commission created by Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, to safeguard the sustainable use of water resources in the region.
The Mekong with its 4880 km, born from the plateau of Tibet and after having crossed the borders of eight nations, flows into Vietnam and is in fact the most important river in Indochina. More than for the richness of biodiversity, in recent decades we talk about the Mekong for the wealth that will enter the coffers of the state after the umpteenth (well fourth) dam that will be built there.
The budget allocated to the project is about 1.8 billion dollars and will include a thirty-year concession for the Chinese and Thai joint ventures that will take care of the construction.
Laos is therefore set to become a gigantic reserve for the energy needs of the whole of Southeast Asia.
While there will be benefits for the 239 million people living in the region from cheap clean energy, it has already been estimated that the construction of the dams will lead to the loss of about 60-70% of the catch in 10 years, due to lack of water that will not allow migratory fish to go up the river.
The Irrawaddy dolphin, of which about 100 remain, is doomed to extinction.
Most of the villages that live on the banks of the rivers will be located in other places, moving the inhabitants away from their crops and their homes and consequently increasing the problem of poverty.
On 24 July, the collapse of one of these dams under construction in the south-east of the country led to the flooding of six villages, causing an unknown number of deaths and about six thousand displaced people.
It is essential to draw public attention and raise awareness among the world’s population about this announced disaster and the inevitable dramatic consequences that will result from it.