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

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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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