Peace Research on Hydropower Dam in Kratie, Cambodia

Peace Research exposed study to community who concerning on hydropower dam that planned to build up in Sambo district, Kratie province from 7-10 September 2017 with 9 peace research participated (2 ladies). The team was decided to interview 107 (69 ladies) community’s people and local authorities  from 8 villages at Beoung Char commune, Sambo district, Kratie province.

Introduction about the team to the commune chief/members was well advice back to the team and gave their cooperation by shared of their commune situation, challenge, and suggestions. Community mapping was draw for guiding us to other difference villages for our peace research team to interview. Among 8 villages, 5 villages are annex village that the commune chief tried many years to ask permission from the Ministry of Interior to accept and listed them as formal village, still no positive reply yet cause these 5 villages was form before the Pol Pot regime.

In Sambo district there was more than 400 islands hug river channel from Mekong River. Most of the people in this area are Kuy indigenous people but most of their language and tradition no longer practice and they called themselves Khmer. Few families still practice and worship their generation ancestor. With their concern on the hydropower dam that heard from time to time make those communities very concern and most of them both local authority and the people strongly not agreed for the plan to build up hydropower, illegal fishery, and illegal logging.

Mr.  Hol Seoung chief of Beoung Char commune told that; citizens have been living here since Pol Pot 1975-1979. From 2013 until now most of tradition and culture from Kuy indigenous are completely changed because of some forests in the area have been given for economic land concessions to the companies that cause a great loss of resources (gold, forest, fishes, and wild animals) between these years. Some people who lack knowledge are deceived by traders and they cut down the trees themselves to sell to tradesmen. Currently, there are many challenges in the region, which is a concern for the people living here; unemployment, illegal fisher after arrest was release by police that out of the responsible of commune to take this intervention, deforestation, no infrastructure such as bridges/road, and the most important concern is building dam in Sambo. He also added that if the dam is built There are so many villages people living along the river affected because of flooding the whole islands, people can’t farm, homeless, no place for animals especially dolphin and others.

Mr. Keo Phat, 54 years living Kampong krasang village said that so far his family has relied on fishing for survive but now he cannot catch fish as before as it less and less since the past three years and now he face more difficulties in family.

Grandma Thong Chheoun, 66 years in Kampong RoTes village said that: she has heard that the authorities say they will build damp for hydropower, government will evacuate people to live in Phnom Chhriv, Kampong Thom Province. She so worried with this information as she is very old no more energy to settle new place, so if government continues to do so she will struggle till die here.

Ms. Sam Srydet from Peace Research member also mentioned: the majority of women deliver baby in traditional way (village midwife) because no health centers close by have to get on boat from one or three hour to reach the health center some of them deliver baby on boat. And some people do not have enough material when they give birth. I hope our government and relate parties able to facilitate all these need as soon as possible.

Mr. Vorn Bunhut from peace research member also expressed his feeling that: I really worried about people here. As they’ve been living for a long time to clear forest for setting house, plantations, rice field, and animal cages; with poverty life and lack of knowledge and live as widows and elderly, so they were not able to settle new place with limited space and not able to sustain their life to those compensation land of the government/companies.

Mr. Iv Dy from peace research member said that: when I visited people living here, I see there are many problems in the area, people live in worries and fear, many natural resources here are destroyed, crop and product produced by people  no market or sell out in low price. I suggestion to government please check again and think of humanity.

The research study will expect to public by November 2017 and seeking for relate person, institution, NGOs, and government to intervene on this issue for local communities people able to live in Peace and Harmony.

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