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Villagers near Sesan Dam warned to brace for floods

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
About 100 families have refused to give up their homes near Sesan dam. KT/Mai Vireak

Villagers living near the Lower Sesan ll Hydropower Dam in Stung Treng province have been warned to expect flooding in their villages soon as the operators of the dam close its doors for technical tests.
Men Kong, a spokesman for Stung Treng Provincial Hall, said there are about 100 families living near the dam that have still not accepted compensation and found new homes.
“The company will close the dam’s doors from July 15 to August 15 to examine their technical operations,” said Mr Kong. “The water level in the dam will be higher and that may lead to flooding in the area, so the company informed us to announce it to villagers, so that they can be careful and move to another place temporarily for their safety.”
Mr Kong said the villagers that may be affected are located in Sre Kor commune, including 91 families in Sre Kor village and 30 families in Kbal Romeas village.
Mr Kong added that about 90 percent of families affected by the dam’s construction had already accepted compensation and moved.
Sek Mekong, Sre Kor commune chief, said that the families who had stayed behind did not believe the compensation offered to them was sufficient.
Seang Saroeun, a resident of Sre Kor village, said some families got $6,000 and another plot of land, but he and others did not accept the offer.
“The people who did not move are concerned about the flooding that may come next month,” he said.
Currently, Cambodia has six operating dams that generate about 61 percent of the electricity used nationwide. The rest is generated from biomass- and coal-fired plants, and electricity imported from Vietnam and Thailand.
Construction of the 75-metre-high Lower Sesan ll Hydropower Dam began last year with a total cost estimated at $816 million. 
By the end of 2018, a total of eight turbines are expected to be fully operational, generating 400 megawatts.
China’s Lancang Hydropower International Energy has a 51 percent stake in the project, Cambodia’s Royal Group owns 39 percent, and Vietnam’s EVN International owns 10 percent.

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