Thursday, April 06, 2006

River Rage

Going back you may remember our trek in northern Thailand, well our guide expressed concern over the possible building of a dam on the Salawin river and now it seems that those plans have been approved by the Thai and Myanmar governments. The Salawin river is one of the last free-flowing rivers in SE Asia and the area to be flooded will displace thousands of hill tribes people including those who we saw on our trek. It is extremely unlikely that these people will get any compensation from governments and they are helpless when it comes to the decision of their fate. The traditional way of life for these people who have resisted integration into greater 'civilization' will be altered and possibly even lost forever. It just seems so unfair that the people who are affected most are consulted least and given no power over their fates. To me although the river is officially Myanmar territory, the military government in Myanmar probably agrees with the deal of handing over the project to the Thais because it would reduce the very pesky problem of the Karen and Shan army strongholds in the area around the Salawin river as well as supply the country with hydro power. More info here. Also read what Dan has to say

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