Over 500 Houses Flooded by China-backed Dams in Karenni State
04 October 2011: More than 500 houses and 500 acres of paddy fields have been flooded near Loikaw, the capital of Karenni State, Burma following water released from China-invested hydro-power dam due to recent heavy rainfall.
Dam operators were said to have discharged large quantities of water from the Moebye dam due to the unusual rainfalls last month, causing thousands of local residents ‘homeless’.
A 50-year-old man from Paya Pyu near Loikaw said it was the first time they had ever experienced such a kind of flood and the government did nothing to help despite giving permission to release water, according to the report.
Serious concerns have been raised among Karenni communities over three new mega dams planned by China’s Datang Corporation in partnership with Burma’s government.
Khu Thaw Reh, Coordinator of the Karenni Development Research Group (KDRG), said: “Releases from the Moebye dam have turned natural heavy rainfall into a disastrous man-made flood. We fear worse disasters if new dams are built.”
The report also highlighted the sufferings of Karenni communities from increased militarization around the Moebye dam, including the laying of thousands of land-mines near the dam site and power-plant.
12,000 villagers were displaced by the dam reservoir, while electricity from the dam was never made available locally but sent to Burma’s former capital Rangoon, the report added.
“No dams should be built in Karenni State without the agreement of local communities,” said Khu Thaw Reh. “We are joining our voices with peoples throughout Burma against destructive Chinese dams.”
Van Biak Thang