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  • » 09/16/2011, 00.00

    CAMBODIA – LAOS – VIETNAM

    Vietnamese study: Xayaburi dam could cause earthquakes



    The site chosen for mega project in Laos is on the course of the River Mekong and only about 100km from a fault line. The project has brought protests from conservation groups and representatives from Cambodia and Vietnam, because it could threaten the ecological balance in the area. Senior Laotian officials: work will start "before the end of this year ”.
    Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agenzie) - The Xayaburi dam project in northern Laos might increase the probability of earthquakes in a region already prone to seismic activity. This warning emerged from a study published by Nguyen Hong Phuong, a researcher at Vietnam’s Centre for Earthquake and Tsunami Warnings, who fears the mega-dam will increase telluric activity and threaten the Mekong ecosystem, affecting tens of thousands of people living along the waterway in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

    The Vietnamese researcher warned that the 1260-megawatt project sits about 100 kilometres south of the Lai Chau-Dien Bien fault line in a seism prone area
    “After the tsunami in Japan, I find this report to be very serious,” Tran Tu, commercial attaché at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh, said yesterday.
    “More studies must be made on this dam before they announce the beginning of construction.”

    However a recent Bloomberg statement said construction will start “before the end of this year”. The finance agency was reporting a statement made by Viraphonh Viravong, director-general of the Ministry of Energy and Mines’ Electricity Department, during an interview in Hanoi. According to human rights activists construction on the mega dam has been underway since late 2010, despite a government promise for further studies regarding environmental impact.
    The project for the US$ 3.5 billion, 1.260-megawatt hydroelectric dam, 32 metres in height, is slated for a remote region of northern Laos, and would force the resettlement of up 2,100 villagers and affect tens of thousands of people. A Thai firm would build the dam, - the first of a planned series of 11 along the Mekong River - and precisely Thailand, the elephant homeland, is set to be the main beneficiary.
    About 65 million people live along the Mekong River, which starts on the Tibetan plateau and flows through China’s Yunnan province before making its way to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The value of its fishery and fish farming has been estimated at around US$ 3 billion a year. Now the 4,880-kilometre waterway, considered the second most bio-diverse river in the world, is threatened by hydroelectric dam projects, like the Xayaburi dam, which could radically upset its ecological balance.
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    See also

    18/04/2014 LAOS - THAILANDIA
    Thai geologists warn Xayaburi dam is an earthquake risk
    The huge barrage under construction on the Laotian section of Mekong River is located near active fault lines and is therefore vulnerable to seismic activity. There is a 30 per cent chance of a medium-sized earthquake in the next 30 years, and a 10 per cent chance of a magnitude 7 tremor. Builders claim instead that the project complies with all earthquake safety rules

    22/06/2013 CAMBODIA - LAOS - VIETNAM
    Xayaburi dam threatens survival of the giant catfish
    The alarm sounded by WWF scientists, the species can measure up to three meters and 300 kg in weight. Less than two hundred specimens remain. The dam is an "insurmountable barrier", which blocks the migration for reproduction. Health of Mekong River worsens.

    07/03/2014 LAOS - CAMBODIA
    In Laos, poorly designed Don Sahong dam threatens Mekong
    Environmentalists slam Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) based on "incomplete" research. The project endangers fish and more than 60 million people living in the lower basin of the river. Some of the endangered species are "unique". Damage is estimated at between US$ 1.4 and 3.9 billion a year.

    19/04/2011 ASIA
    Following Vietnam protests, Laotian govt puts off Xayaburi dam decision
    The four-nation (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand) Mekong River Commission met today. There is “still a difference in views” over the project, which Vietnam vehemently opposes. Environmentalists back a ten-year moratorium. Vientiane gives in and postpones decision.

    20/10/2010 LAOS – VIETNAM – CHINA
    Calls for a moratorium on Mekong dam building that destroy environment and people
    Laos and Cambodia are planning to build dams to generate electrical power for sale. China, which already has four big dams upstream, is accused of taking too much water. The river’s ecosystems and the lives of 65 million people are at risk. Vietnam and Thailand are not against a US role in the matter.



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