Officials say Sesan dam will cause floods in September

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Lower Sesan II dam, a hydro electric dam that is seen under construction in 2015, will begin its operating soon. Kimberley McCosker

Stung Treng provincial authorities say they have warned villagers living upstream of the Lower Sesan II dam to expect floods in September as one of the dam’s 50-megawatt turbines goes into operation.

Stung Treng Provincial Deputy Governor Duong Pov said yesterday that the provincial hall issued the announcement by letter two weeks ago, informing local authorities that the Hydropower Lower Sesan 2 Co will test one of the dam’s eight turbines in September.

Pov explained that the statement was sent to local authorities by letter so that they would relay the information to the villagers, particularly those who refused to relocate from villages in the dam’s reservoir area.

One hundred and ten families in the villages of Sre Kor and Kbal Romeas still refuse to move, Pov said.

Provincial Spokesman Men Kong said that provincial authorities will continue negotiating with the families and are prepared to assist them in the event of severe flooding.

Dam Samnang, who belongs to one of the 58 families refusing to abandon Kbal Romeas village, said that he saw the news on Facebook but received no warning from local authorities.

Asked how his community would prepare for the flooding, Samnang responded “our preparation is the protest; there is nothing else besides the protest because it is not a natural flood”.

Former Sre Kor Commune Chief Siek Mekong claimed that he also received no formal notification from the authorities, though he heard rumours about the turbine going into operation this September.

“The announcement is not right,” said Mekong, saying that 93 families remain in Sre Kor village.

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