Anti-dam activists set to block workers’ arrival

Members of an ethnic minority in Koh Kong province’s Areng Valley stood watch Thursday to block a road leading to the site of a proposed dam after they heard that Chinese workers would inspect the site, community representatives said. Villagers believe that the Chinese company Sinohydro (Cambodia) United Ltd. will start to build the 108MW Stung Chhay Areng dam in the coming months. The dam is expected to flood large parts of Areng Valley and risks destroying the cultural identity of the Chong minority. Starting in March, Chong community members have repeatedly tried to block equipment from being taken to the site, and have set up barricades to stop Chinese engineers from inspecting the area, which can only be accessed through a small dirt road. … No date has been set for the start of construction. Last month, Sinohydro built a storage facility, alarming the Chong community and kicking off the roadblocks. In Kongchet, provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, said that the Chong were determined to prevent Chinese workers from accessing the site. … The dam would also threaten the survival of rare plants and animals native to the area, such as the Siamese Crocodile.

Khuon Narim