News / Asia

Villagers Call for Postponement of Lao Dam

FILE - A Cambodian fisherman takes off his fishing net at Mekong river bank of Koh Norea village in Phnom Penh.
FILE - A Cambodian fisherman takes off his fishing net at Mekong river bank of Koh Norea village in Phnom Penh.
Theara Khoun
Villagers from fishing communities along the Mekong River on Thursday urged the Cambodian government to negotiate with Laos over postponing a dam project slated to begin later this year.

Conservationists say the Don Sahong dam could damage downstream fisheries and harm the well-being of the rare Mekong dolphin, a source of ecotourism revenue for some Cambodian villages along the river.

Pory Vanna, a representative from Koh Pdao, a dolphin ecotourism site, told reporters in Phnom Penh Thursday that he is worried the dam will ruin tourism if it dries up the river and causes the dolphins to disappear.

"We wouldn’t be able to make any income," said Vanna. "Fishing would also be finished. I appeal to the government of Laos to discuss the impact [of the dam] with communities in the lower part of the dam project - a trans-border discussion. I appeal to the Cambodian government to include this issue on the agenda of an upcoming meeting with Laos."

Gerry Ryan, a technical consultant with the World Wildlife Fund, says even the construction of the dam could hurt the dolphins, who depend on echolocation and sound, rather than sight.

He said, "Dolphins have very sensitive hearing system, and the loud noises and strong percussive forces produced by explosions, produced by explosions can damage their hearing system and potentially either killing them immediately or leading to harm that means they won't be able to navigate properly under the water."

The start on the proposed dam project is planned for later this year, despite challenges from environmentalists and the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments.

The dam will be located at Khon Falls, a crucial habitat for fish and the Mekong River dolphin during the dry season, just one kilometer upstream from the Cambodian border. The project will be built by a Malaysian company at a projected cost of $3.8 billion.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs