Thousands Flee As Burma Army Attacks to Secure Dam Sites
15 June 2011: Ongoing attacks by Burma Army against the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) to secure the unpopular China-run dam projects in Kachin State have forced thousands of local people into the China-Burma border.
A statement released by Burma Rivers Network said scores of people have died and at least 2,000 refugees have fled following fighting at the Dapein No. 1 and 2 dams constructed by China’s state-owned Datang Company in northern Burma.
“Burma Army had brought in hundreds of troops to secure the Dapein dams located near strategic KIO bases,” added Burma Rivers Network, a group of organisations representing dam-affected communities across Burma.
In northern Shan State, another fighting broke out yesterday near the Shweli No. 1 Dam site.
There are nine giant dams being planned or constructed in Kachin State alone by Chinese companies, according to the statement.
With most of the mega dams located in ethnic states producing severe negative social, economic and environmental impacts, the majority of electricity generated is exported to neighbouring countries or used by Burma’s military.
Sai Sai, Coordinator of the Burma Rivers Network, said: “The root causes of social conflict in Burma have not been addressed and despite the formation of a new government, the country is still under the mismanagement of a military regime. These mega dams are fuelling further conflict, not benefitting the people of Burma.”
It is reported that Burma Army from Light Infantry Battalion No. 423 arrived in Karenni State to secure the Ywathit Dam site last week.
In Shan State, Burma Army launched attacks on Shan State Army-North near the Nong Pha Dam site on the Salween River, causing thousands to flee their homes over the last three months.
Burma Rivers Network calls on the Chinese, Thai, Indian and European investors as well as other companies involved in the projects to immediately stop dam plans in Burma.
Van Biak Thang