Posts tagged ‘cambodia’

September 11, 2014

Public event held in Cambodia to oppose Laos’ Don Sahong dam

Public event held in Cambodia to oppose Laos’ Don Sahong dam

Public event held in Cambodia to oppose Laos’ Don Sahong dam

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/140911/public-event-held-cambodia-oppose-laos-don-sahong-dam

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) — World Wildlife Fund (WWF) held a public event in the capital city of Cambodia on Thursday to share the concerns of more than 250,000 people who are calling on Mega First Corporation to suspend construction of the controversial 260-megawatt Don Sahong hydropower project on the Mekong River in Laos.

Since May this year, 12,404 concerned Cambodians have added their names to a WWF public petition opposing Don Sahong dam. The local action was bolstered by a global online petition signed by 255,596 people representing more than 200 countries, the WWF said in its news statement.

Laos’ Don Sahong dam could herald the demise of important fisheries and critically endangered Mekong dolphins, the statement said, adding that around 85 dolphins are now restricted to a 190 km stretch of the Mekong River between southern Laos and northeast Cambodia, with the dam project in southern Laos located just 1 kilometer upstream of the dolphins’core habits.

“More than a quarter of a million people around the world are sending a strong and clear message to Mega First. Stop Don Sahong dam or risk the dubious honor of precipitating the extinction of a species,” said Chhith Sam Ath, country director of WWF-Cambodia. “Don Sahong dam is a dangerous experiment and Mega First is gambling with the livelihoods of millions.”

The public event on Thursday was attended by about 100 community members, NGO partners, youths and monks to reiterate their concerns of the impacts of the Don Sahong construction. As part of the event, a boat traveled along the Mekong River displaying banners calling on Mega First to respond to the huge public opposition to their project.

WWF said the dam will block the only channel available for dry- season fish migration, putting at risk the world’s most productive inland fisheries and the livelihoods of 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin.

“Without fish and dolphins, our livelihoods will be destroyed,” said An Hou, chief of Community Fishery Network in Cambodia’s Kratie province. “We are helpless and we do not know what to do if the dam goes ahead.”

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August 29, 2014

VN to negotiate with Laos, Cambodia on transit fees for new air route

VN to negotiate with Laos, Cambodia on transit fees for new air route

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/business/110731/vn-to-negotiate-with-laos–cambodia-on-transit-fees-for-new-air-route.html

VietNamNet Bridge – Airlines are taking a wait and see attitude about the proposed air route between Hanoi and HCM City that will fly over Cambodia and Laos airspace, cutting flight time compared to the current route.

Experts have said that this will be the most economical air route to follow

 

Related:

Bouncing down: The back roads of history (The Ho Chi Minh Trail)

air route, golden route, laos, cambodia

The agreements reached between the Vietnamese Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and Lao and Cambodian counterparts have laid a foundation for the deployment of the new air route.

The  route, which is more direct path between the two cities, is expected to cut down expenses and save time. Currently airlines have to fly across the sea, which increases the amount of fuel and flight time.

However, air carriers are still hesitant to develop flights on the air route because they still cannot calculate the total expenses of every flight. The problem is that while airlines can save money on air petrol, they may have to pay higher fees when flying over Lao and Cambodian airspace.

With the current air route, airplanes fly within Vietnamese territory, while airlines have to pay a guide fee of VND3.5-4 million for every flight to the Vietnam Flight Control Corporation.

If they fly across Laos and Cambodia with a Boeing 777, they would have to pay $836 for every flight, or VND17.7 million. The fee would be VND13 million, if the plane used was an Airbus A320.

As such, the flight management cost for every two-way trip with A320, A321 and B777/330 would be $1,244, $1,274 and $1,672, respectively.

While airlines can see that the flight management cost would increase with the new air route, they still are not sure how much fuel they could save.

“To date, no one can say for sure how long the new air route will be,” an expert said.

“In reality, there might be zones that airplanes cannot go through and they have to take a roundabout. Sometimes airplanes have to fly tens of kilometers more to enter the right passage for landing, which makes the real distance longer than initially estimated,” he explained.

The air route which has been used so far has a total length of 1,274 kilometers. It takes one hour and 42 minutes and 4.7 tons of fuel to fly from Hanoi to HCM City with Airbus A320, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

Meanwhile, the “golden air route” drawn on paper by Tran Dinh Ba, an engineer from the Vietnam Economics Association, has the total length of 1,140 kilometers.

The national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines, after making calculations, has proposed that CAAV negotiate with Lao and Cambodian agencies to reduce transit fees in Laos and Cambodia by 50 percent for the Hanoi-Phu Quoc Island and Hanoi-HCM City flights.

Meanwhile, sources said that the 50 percent fee reduction would ensure profits for airlines, while in the worst case, the 35 percent fee reduction would be “acceptable”.

CAAV’s head Lai Xuan Thanh said that if the fee reduction were accepted, this would be a solution to benefit both sides.

The fee reductions would encourage more air carriers to fly across Laos and Cambodia, which would allow them to earn more money.

VNE/VNN

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August 28, 2014

Bouncing down: The back roads of history (The Ho Chi Minh Trail)

Bouncing down: The back roads of history

Posted On Aug 25, 2014
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://theadvisorcambodia.com/2014/08/bouncing-back-roads-history/

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a 1989 pink Honda cub

The Ho Chi Minh Trail, for those of you who’ve forgotten, was a transport network running from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, via Laos and Cambodia. Originally made up of primitive footpaths used for local trade, by the time of the Vietnam War the Trail was used to supply weapons, fuel and men in vast quantities to fight the Americans. According to the US government, the Trail was “one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century”.

It also caused a great deal of trouble for both Laos and Cambodia: Laos was hit by an average of one B-52 bomb load every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, between 1964 and 1973. US fighters dropped more bombs on Laos than were dropped by all sides during the whole of the Second World War. And in Cambodia, American bombing provided a huge impetus for the rise of the Khmer Rouge.
The scale of the Trail was breathtaking. Covering more than 2,000 kilometres, from Sihanoukville in the south and Hanoi in the north, through thick jungle and over the 2,500-metre Truong Son mountain range in Laos, much of it was hidden from the bombers by tied-together tree canopies and trellises. The Americans used increasingly sophisticated weaponry to try to disrupt the Trail, including dousing it with Agent Orange, but all to no avail.

Agent Orange, a viciously unpleasant herbicide and defoliant, was used to strip the ground of plant cover, so the North Vietnamese would have nowhere to hide. According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million people were exposed to the chemical, leaving 400,000 dead and 500,000 children born with birth defects. And reports suggest that at the end of the war, 80 million bombs had fallen on the three countries but not exploded, leaving an appalling and deadly legacy.

So, all in all, the Trail was a hugely important hinge for modern Southeast Asian history. It has been traversed before by modern travel writers, on foot and on motorbike: a guy called Chris Hunt rode the length of the Trail on a Russian-made Minsk 125cc in 1995. To top that, British-born Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent decided to make the journey on a bubblegum-pink 1989 Honda C-90 stepthru moped, because “doing it on a proper dirt bike seemed too easy”. She had to have the engine rebuilt four times during the trip, so she clearly found the difficulties she was looking for.

Pink vehicles seem to be something of a motif for Bolingbroke-Kent; previously she had driven a pink tuk tuk from Bangkok to Brighton. On the Trail, at a stately 20mph, she fords rivers, climbs mountains and braves the heat and dust and loneliness and potential tiger attacks, staying in grubby guesthouses, swatting insects and drinking warm Pepsi. If her writing is sometimes a little flat, her knowledge of the history of the Trail, as well as her views on unexploded ordnance and the effects now of the logging and deforestation along the way, are invaluable.
As economic progress turns the Ho Chi Minh Trail into well-paved routes for shipping wood abroad for garden furniture, the Trail itself is disappearing; this is a decent book on a fascinating subject.

June 28, 2014

Effects of Laos dam project to be revealed

 

Laos takes ‘courteous’ approach to next Mekong dam project, agrees to consult before work starts

Reuters

June 28, 2014

Updated 2 hours 31 minutes ago

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-28/laos-dam/5557196

Fishing at rapids in the Siphandone area of the Mekong River in Laos

Fishing at rapids in Siphandone area, site of proposed Don Sahong hydro-electric dam.  Photo: International Rivers

Laos has agreed to consult its neighbours before starting construction of a second controversial dam on the Mekong River.

It’s already going ahead with the much bigger Xayaburi dam to supply power to China, despite opposition from Vietnam and Cambodia.

Agreement to allow environmental assessments and for a formal consultation process on the proposed Don Sahong dam was reached at a meeting of the Mekong River Commission in Bangkok.

The commission comprises Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

Laos accepted environmental and other studies for the Xayaburi dam after pressure from its neighbours, but went ahead with construction even while they were being conducted.

But this time Vientiane has given an assurance work will not start during the six-month consultation process, describing the move as a “courtesy”.

The Don Sahong project is the second of 11 hydroelectric dams planned for the Mekong mainstream, which has raised concerns about the impact on the environment and livelihoods of millions of people.

It will generate 260 megawatts of electricity, mainly for export to Thailand and Cambodia compared with Xayaburi’s 1,260 megawatts, around 95 percent of which will go to Thailand.

The environmental group International Rivers is among those to have welcomed the decision.

But it says further action is needed “to ensure that the rapid progress of dam building on the Mekong … does not go unchecked”.

Officials say recommendations resulting from the studies of the Don Sahong project would not be binding on Laos.

—————

Effects of Laos dam project to be revealed

Posted on 27 June 2014

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://wwf.panda.org/?224398/Effects-of-Laos-dam-project-to-be-revealed

Two Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins spotted at Tbong Kla deep pool
© WWF- Cambodia/ Gerad Ryan

WWF welcomes the Lao Government’s decision to have the Don Sahong hydropower project undergo a formal consultation process, a decision likely to delay construction of the project.

The consultation process requires Laos to hold inter-governmental consultations before proceeding with the dam, and conduct and share studies on the project’s environmental and the social impacts. The process will take at least six months to complete.

“Laos is now promising to do what they already signed up to under the Mekong agreement, and should have done months ago” said Marc Goichot, WWF-Greater Mekong’s lead on sustainable hydropower. “Their decision to consult on the Don Sahong project, and share critical details about the project’s impacts, comes after intense pressure from neighbouring countries. It is critical that pressure is maintained to ensure Laos delivers on their promise.”

In September last year, Laos announced its decision to proceed with the Don Sahong dam, bypassing the Mekong River Commision’s (MRC) consultation process.

The much-criticised project was discussed at the June 26-27 meeting of the MRC – an inter-governmental agency made up of representatives from the four Lower Mekong nations — Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Don Sahong dam threatens the Mekong’s critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and will block the only channel available for dry-season fish migration, putting the world’s largest inland fishery at risk. Close to 200,000 people have signed WWF’s petition calling on the dam builder, Mega First, to pull out of the project.

“We thank people around the world who signed the WWF’s petition to stop the Don Sahong dam,” added Goichot. “Mega First would do well to listen to the growing voices of opposition to this disastrous project and reconsider their engagement.”

The Don Sahong dam is the second dam on the Lower Mekong mainstem, following the controversial Xayaburi dam that Laos has begun constructing despite opposition from neighbouring Cambodia and Vietnam.

“The Mekong River Commission’s joint decision-making process was effectively broken in 2012 when Laos decided unilaterally to proceed with Xayaburi dam, against the express wishes of Vietnam and Cambodia,” added Goichot.

“There is currently little faith in the MRC’s process to ensure joint decisions are made for the benefit of all Mekong nations. If Laos fails to be held to account, the MRC will soon lose its legitimacy and 60 million people living in the Mekong basin will suffer.”

Crowd of children with Pra or River catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus). River catfish are closely related to the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas), a critically endangered Mekong endemic specieis. The Mekong giant catfish migrates from the Tonle Sap Lake to the Mekong River at the end of the rainy season each year and a dam like Don Sahong would block their migration.
© Zeb Hogan / WWF-Canon

 

 

April 14, 2014

Mekong hydropower dams: Laos considering, Vietnam needs “quick reactions”

 

Mekong hydropower dams: Laos considering, Vietnam needs “quick reactions”

VietNamNet Bridge – Laos promises to consult with experts and consider the construction of hydropower dams on Mekong River is the good news for Vietnam. However, scientists say Vietnam needs to act promptly to take full advantage of its opportunities.

 

Mekong hydropower dams, mekong river, laos, vietnam

 

The comment was made by Nguyen Viet Dung, Deputy Director of PanNature, a Vietnamese not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and conserving diversity of life and improving human well-being.

Dung believes that what needs to be done immediately is to provide reports on the possible impacts of the hydropower dams on the Mekong’s lower course. The reports, with convincing arguments and figures, need to be provided to Laos as soon as possible, so that the country can fully consider the pros and cons of its proposed hydropower plant project.

Quick, quicker

The second summit of the International Mekong River Commission has ended with a satisfactory outcome. Vietnam suggested setting up a research team, with the presence of representatives of Laos and Cambodia, which would be charged with analyzing the possible impacts of the hydropower plants on Mekong.

Vietnam, at the summit, proposed that Laos waits for Vietnam’s research work to reach a conclusion before it decides whether to move ahead with its project. The research is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc said that Laos has promised to thoroughly consider the possible negative impacts shown by Vietnam and Cambodia.

Dung, applauding Lao goodwill, has urged Vietnamese scientists to carry out the research and make public the result of the research to confirm the dangers to the people in the Mekong’s lower course.

“This would be really a big challenge for Vietnamese researchers, who need to clarify what are the impacts to be caused by hydropower dams and what are the impacts to be caused by other factors,” Dung commented.

“Only by clarifying the issues, will Vietnam be able to convince Laos and involved parties,” he said.

How to make the research outcome recognized?

However, worries still exist. A scientist said the next question is whether the conclusions reached by the research team will be accepted by Laos and the involved parties. And even if they agree on the conclusions of the researchers, will they be cooperative and adjust their plans accordingly?

Dung, agreeing with the opinion, stressed that the research must be conducted with the active participation of representatives from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand as well.

Recent surveys have all shown that Mekong’s basin is one of the five largest river basins in the world to be witnessing the sharpest decline in flow. The annual flow of the Mekong in the lower course has declined by 10 percent over the last 30 years.

The Mekong river section running across Vientiane in Laos has become so depleted that people can cross the river on foot in the dry season. In the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, salt water has invaded the Tan Chau area of An Giang Province, something which never happened in the past.

Mekong has been playing a very important role in Vietnam’s socio-economic development. The Mekong Delta, with an area of 40,000 square kilometers, is home to 20 million people. Its products make up 27 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, and it provides 90 percent of the nation’s rice exports and 60 percent of its seafood export turnover.

Thien Nhien

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