Notorious dam impoverishes displaced persons in central Vietnam

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Báo Thanh Niên English - 32 month(s) ago 2 readings

Another problem has been added to the litany associated with the Song Tranh 2 hydropower dam in central Vietnam, as displaced residents have been forced to clear forests in order to survive.

Saigon Tiep Thi on Tuesday said more than 5,000 ethnic minorities in Quang Nam Province have not received a proper house, job or a plot of farmland since 2007 when they were relocated to make room for the dam, whose leaks have made headlines recently. The dam also caught media's attention earlier, due to a series of earthquakes attributed to its operation.

Ho Van Xanh, a displaced man, said “Our life has been miserable in many ways. No clean water, no production land, no job, and a quickly deteriorating house.”

To survive at the new location, Xanh said, “we have no other option than destroying forests to build houses and trade the timber for food.”

The latest figures from the local forest management team showed that the displaced group in Bac Tra My District, which is eight kilometers from the dam, had logged more than 46 hectares of forest, collecting more than 700 cubic meters of precious wood since 2007.

Dinh Van Xuan, a commune chairman in the district, said the dam's investor, the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), has not provided them with new jobs or farmland.

“The investor gave poor quality houses that do not suit their lifestyle, so they have logged trees illegally to build houses next to their given ones,” Xuan said, cited by Saigon Tiep Thi.

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