A dam project set to flood thousands of hectares of protected forest and displace about 1,500 indigenous minority villagers in one of Koh Kong province’s most precious ecosystems should be scrapped, opposition Sam Rainsy Party MP Son Chhay said yesterday.
The 109-megawatt dam project in the Cheay Areng Valley is to be built by the Chinese state-owned firm Guodian Corporation and expected to flood up to 20,000 hectares, with about half of the reservoir in the Central Cardamom Protected Forest.
After returning from an investigation of the site, Son Chhay said the dam on the Stung Areng river would be a tragedy for the indigenous Chuong villagers – who have cultivated the area for centuries – and those who appreciated one of the country’s last, truly unique forests.
“It’s a great loss because we do not have many places in the country like that left. So many forests have been destroyed. This area has the rare animals, the endangered species, the mountain crocodile – so many rare animals I have never seen before,” he said…
May Titthara and David Boyle