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Villagers Call for Halt to Hydropower Project in Northeast

Villagers living along the Sesan river in northeastern Cambodia protest the construction of the Sesan 2 dam, file photo.

Villagers living along two rivers in northeastern Cambodia have submitted petitions to the government calling for the halt of a hydropower project. The villagers, from the Lao and Phnong minorities, say the Sesan 2 dam will harm their way of life.

The dam is expected to flood five villages where some 5,000 people live. Environmentalists warn it could also hurt fish populations and have economic consequences for far more people.

The petition comes from residents of Kbal Romeas village, which lies on the Srepok river, and Srekor village, which lies along Sesan river, both in Stung Treng province.

Kol Sam Ol, Strung Treng’s governor, could not be reached for comment. Eng Sirong, head of the Stung Treng environmental department, said he had not yet received the petition and declined to comment further.

Ho Sam Ol, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said minorities living in the proposed reservoir area have not been properly compensated for relocation and have so far refused to move.