Mekong Eye

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Stories - Page 371

  • China’s alarming ‘water diplomacy’ on the Mekong

    03/22/2016

    At first glance, it looks beneficent. As countries along the Lower Mekong river that snakes through mainland Southeast Asia struggled in the grip of a severe drought, China announced it would release water from its upstream Jinghong dam over nearly a month from March 15. The announcement was partly intended as a goodwill gesture one week ahead of the inaugural Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit of leaders of the six Mekong region countries.

    But while the water release will spell some immediate relief for the drought-stricken region, it portends future geopolitical tensions between China and its southern Mekong neighbors. Having unilaterally accumulated political power by exploiting geography and manipulating natural waterways through the construction of a slew of upriver dams, China appears intent to set the regional water management rules as it deems fit.

    The Mekong, which the Chinese refer to as Lancang, is Asia’s seventh-longest river and provides livelihoods and habitats for riverfront communities and natural wildlife throughout its meandering flow from China and Myanmar to Laos and Thailand, down to Cambodia and Vietnam before it reaches the sea. China’s damming of the upper Mekong has long been considered a geopolitical risk for the lower riparian states and a source of potential conflict for the entire Greater Mekong Subregion — encompassing Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. That risk has manifested itself in an inchoate fashion through the annual dry seasons, when about 60 million people in fishing villages and communities along the Mekong are severely affected. But any protest has been silenced by geopolitical realities.

  • NLD promises to listen to public on Myitsone Dam

    03/21/2016

    National League for Democracy Spokesperson Zaw Myint Maung soothed local concerns on the future of the controversial dam, Myitsone.

    He said yesterday that the new government would heed public opinion before making the next move and if the project does not win public approval, it would not be resumed.

    “We have always faced questions on this. Anybody can say what they want. But as the spokesperson of the party, the o nly thing I can say is our policy is clear. We have special consideration for the people. We will not do it if people do not agree. Our chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi already mentioned it. We will aim for the development of the people,” he said.

  • Vietnam’s Mekong Delta hit by worst drought in years

    03/21/2016

    THE southern tip of Mekong Delta in Vietnam in the country’s prime fertile rice-growing region has been hit by the worst drought the country has seen in recent years.

    Accompanied by a saline intrusion, the drought is reported to have affected over a million people who face water shortages in the region.

    This has spurred China to dispense twice the amount of water from a hydropower station to aid the situation.

    Officials blamed the drought on the El Nino weather phenomenon and excessive construction of hydropower dams on the upper stream of the river, the Associated Press reported.

    Yesterday, director of the department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Ma Quang Trung was quoted as saying the level of inland saline intrusion was unprecedented, resulting in damage to some 180,000 hectares (444,780 acres) of paddy fields.

  • A request to China to regulate the water flow from upstream Mekong river

    03/18/2016

    Mekong Delta Region (MDR) is the largest rice field of Vietnam now facing the serious drought and water shortage. There are 7 provinces in Mekong Delta region is damaged by salinization. The cause of this situation is the depletion of water supplies by the Mekong River. In order to dealing with this situation, in Hanoi 3 March, 2016, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister has a working session with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Mekong River Commission of Vietnam on research impact of hydropower projects on the Mekong mainstream.

  • Blocking the Flow: Cambodia’s Sesan II Dam

    03/18/2016

    In Cambodia’s far north, the Mekong is under threat from one of the most controversial environmental project in the country. Luc Forsyth and Gareth Bright are on a journey to follow the Mekong River from sea to source, fully immersing themselves in the adventure of exploring one of the world’s most famous rivers. Over the coming months, The Diplomat will share some of the stories they’ve found along the river.

  • Dawei locals raise concerns over violation of human rights

    03/18/2016

    Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and local residents living near the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) have called for action from the Japanese, Myanmar and Thai governments to tackle human rights violations before allowing the project to resume. They issued a joint statement urging the governments to take action against, among others, corruption among governmental departments related to the project, forced relocation, and to solve the problems before resuming the ground construction of the project.

  • Vanishing Roots

    03/17/2016

    In Cambodia’s Northern Prey Lang forest, one of the last remaining evergreen forests in Southeast Asia, a community is organizing itself to preserve its roots, traditions, and protect the land to which it belongs.

  • Local resistance fails to halt Myeik coal-fired power plant

    03/17/2016

    A local company says it will pursue plans to build a 50-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Tanintharyi Region once it has secured permission from Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), despite continuing opposition from the community. “Residents were not informed when the company signed an MoU to build the plant, the company said it has completed an environmental and social impact assessment but it hasn’t shown us the results,” said the villagers.

  • Groups to hold ‘day of action’ to protest Salween dams

    03/17/2016

    Last weekend thousands of people are expected to assemble on the banks of the Thanlwin or Salween River for a special event to remind the new government and foreign investors that ethnic people stand in solidarity to defend their river and their democratic and human rights against a series of dams that threaten their livelihoods, cultural sites, and homes.

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