Staff members of the International Rivers Network visited Laos' Nam Theun 2 hydropower project area in June 2006 and found that NT2 investors and the Lao government are slow in implementing the necessary measures to reduce impacts on the affected population or in compensating them.
IRN's Aviva Imhoff told VOA in a phone interview from IRN's headquarters in Berkeley, California, that while constructions seem to be proceeding on schedule, a lot of social and environmental measures are lagging behind, and there has been no efforts on the part of the investors or the government to slow down construction and make sure that all the social and environmental measures are in place.
She added that "Some of our biggest concerns are that we found a lot of problems with compensations for the communities living along the downstream channel that will bring down the water from the power house to the Xe Bang Fai river. And along that channel, a lot of people have lost their rice fields because the channel is about 100 meter-wide, so it cuts through their properties, and some have received very little compensation."
Ms. Imhoff says the IRN is also concerned that there is no plan to clear the whole reservoir area on the Nakai Plateau of the dead trees and biomasses, which could lead to serious water quality issues in the reservoir later which would kill fish in the reservoir and in the downstream area.
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