Tag Archives: hydro-electric

Aung San Suu Kyi backs Burma dam protesters

11 Aug

Aung San Suu Kyi has urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River

Burma pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has joined forces with environmentalists and minority groups with an appeal for a rethink of a large dam project.

Suu Kyi urged the Myanmar and Chinese governments to re-examine the project on the Irrawaddy River in the interest of national and international harmony.

The Nobel peace prize winner called the waterway “the most significant geographical feature of our country.”

Environmental groups, members of the Kachin ethnic minority and other people living along the river say the Myanmar-China Myitsone Hydroelectric Project in northern Kachin state will displace villagers and upset the ecology of the important food source.

The 3.6 billion dollar (£3.1 billion) dam being built by China in the Kachin heartland is expected to flood an area the size of Singapore.

The Burmese government has not said how much of the energy will be sold to China.

In her appeal, Suu Kyi said some 12,000 people from 63 villages have been relocated and it is not clear whether they will be fairly compensated.

The government said only 2,146 people from five villages had been relocated.

For decades, several ethnic groups have waged guerrilla wars for greater autonomy, including more control over resources in their regions. In March, fighting broke out between the 8,000-strong Kachin militia and the government.

That fighting was related to dams and other large projects being built by China.

Cross-posted from here

Global Protests Against Burmese Military Actions At Dams

1 Jul

By Katy Yan and Grace Mang

Cross-posted from here

Kachins protest at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco

Last Friday, hundreds of people in the US, Denmark, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and elsewhere gathered to protest the recent deadly clashes between Burmese authorities and ethnic militias in Burma’s northern Kachin State. Standing before Burmese and Chinese embassies, Kachins held up signs calling for an end to the violence and a halt to dam building by Chinese companies  in Kachin State.

Fighting broke out in early June between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) at the Dapein No. 1 and 2 dams, which are being constructed by China’s state-owned Datang Company, breaking a 17-year ceasefire. Scores of people have died and as many as 13,000 refugees have fled their homes, with many crossing into China. As of last Wednesday, about 18 women have been reported gang-raped by Burma Army soldiers in Kachin State, according to the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand.

 

Fishing on the Irrawaddy near the Myitsone Dam (Burma Rivers Network)

Chinese power companies and contractors are building a series of dams in northern Burma to supply electricity to China. The biggest and most controversial of these dams is the Myitsone Dam, a massive 3,600MW hydropower plant being built by China Power Investment and situated in an area of great cultural and ecological significance. The environmental impact assessment on this first dam on the Irrawaddy also expressed grave concerns.

In March, the KIO sent an open letter to the Chinese government calling for a halt to the project. It warned that, given the forced displacement, lack of transparency, and unequal distribution of benefits, this and other dam projects in Burma were likely to foster popular resentment, creating a risky situation for Chinese companies so close to its borders.

Chinese dams fueling conflicts in Kachin State (Kachins in California)

According to the Burma Rivers Network, the current conflict is “closely related to the dams. The government has sent in troops because it wants to gain control of a region that hosts major Chinese investments in hydropower.” Kachin State has till now been largely controlled by Kachin forces. 

Strong local resistance has also occurred in northern Shan State in an area where Burma, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and a number of Chinese companies (China’s Sinohydro, China Three Gorges Group Corporation, and China Southern Power Grid) are planning a series of dams for the Salween River.

China now finds itself caught in the middle due to its desire for secure energy supplies from Burma and its fear of escalating conflict around its hydropower projects so close to its borders.

 

China: Thousands of displaced farmers in 5 day protest over hydroelectric dam

31 Mar


Chinese paramilitary police crushed a five-day protest by up to 2,000 Chinese villagers who complained that they weren’t being paid enough to relocate for one of China’s largest hydroelectric power projects, according to local officials.

The villagers set roadblocks, physically harassed officials and damaged government vehicles in Suijiang County in the southwestern province of Yunnan before being dispersed by paramilitary police on Tuesday afternoon, the officials said.

More than a dozen police were injured, they said. No demonstrators were hurt, said a local-government spokeswoman, who agreed to be identified only by her surname, Wu. The reports of injuries couldn’t be independently confirmed.

The protest was one several examples of civil unrest triggered by land disputes in China, where farmers increasingly are being forced to relocate to make way for housing, golf courses or large infrastructure projects.

Suijiang County is on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan province. It is near the Jinsha River site of the Xiangjiaba Hydroelectric Station, which is designed to be one of China’s largest.

Read the rest of the story here.

The Terraba fight proposed hydro-electric dam in Costa Rica

31 Mar

Rio Terraba


Following several large protests, Costa Rica’s indigenous Terraba people have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt construction of a hydro-electric power station due to flood a large swath of their territory, officials said Wednesday.

The power plant is the biggest such project in Central America. It is expected to produce up to 630 megawatts starting in 2016.

The lawsuit was filed on March 21 by the Terraba Indian Territory development association before the administrative court, a spokesperson said.

According to Gabriella Habtom, secretary of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

…Costa Rica, through its state-owned electricity company, intends to construct a hydroelectric dam (“the Diquis dam”) that will flood at least ten percent of the Térraba people’s titled lands. As well as permanently depriving the Térraba of the use and enjoyment of these lands, the Diquis dam, if built in the manner currently proposed, will also flood a large number of sites of sacred, cultural and archaeological significance to the Térraba people. These include sites of fundamental importance to their identity, cultural integrity, and spiritual and religious freedom, including many hundreds of burial sites and geographical features that are considered to be ‘pillars of Térraba existence and identity’.

The Terraba number approximately 750 people. The proposed project would bring in 9,000 non-indigenous workers and their familes, causing long term, multi-generational social and environmental impacts on the region and the Terraba people.

According to the UN, only 1.68 percent of Costa Rica’s population is indigenous.

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