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Home > Main Library > Water, including dams > Water bodies (global. regional) > Human activities in, on and around Burma's water bodies > Threats to Burma's water bodies and their communities > Dams and other projects on specific rivers of Burma/Myanmar > Dams and other projects on the Irrawaddy and its tributories

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Dams and other projects on the Irrawaddy and its tributories

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Hydropower development on the Irrawaddy river basin above Myitkyina
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: This dossier contains the full text of the environmental impact assesment (EIA) done by Chinese and Burmese experts and published in October 2009. The title is: "ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (SPECIAL INVESTIGATION) ON HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT OF AYEYAWADY RIVER BASIN ABOVE MYITKYINA, KACHIN STATE, MYANMAR". The dossier also contains links to other documents on the project including the EIA commissioned by the CHINA POWER INVESTMENT CORPORATION (CPI).
Language: English
Source/publisher: Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and other sources
Format/size: pdf (105K)
Date of entry/update: 12 August 2011


Title: Burma Rivers Network
Description/subject: Includes sections on the major rivers of Burma
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Rivers Network
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 July 2012


Title: Google search results for "Myitsone Dam"
Description/subject: 92,100 results (May 2011)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Google.com
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 May 2011


Title: Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam
Description/subject: "The Irrawaddy River flows from north to south through the center of Burma. Since 2005, Burma’s military junta in partnership with the China Power Investment Corporation have been preparing plans to build a 3,600 - 6,000 megawatt Irrawaddy Myitsone dam on the river. China Gezhouba is the main dam builder. Located a mile below the confluence of the Mali and N’Mai Rivers in Kachin State, the source of the Irrawaddy River, the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam is the largest of seven dams now proposed for these three rivers. If built, the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam would create a reservoir the size of New York City and displace 10,000 people, mostly from the Kachin ethnic group. The dam will also submerge historical churches, temples, and cultural heritage sites that are central to Kachin identity and history. The dam site is located within the Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rainforest region, which is recognized as one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots and a global conservation priority. If built, the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam would inundate approximately 766 square kilometers of this pristine rainforest and cause irreversible damage to its river systems. The dam would also disrupt transportation of nutrients to the Irrawaddy’s delta, which provides nearly 60 percent of Burma’s rice. Local communities oppose the dam not just because of its environmental impacts, displacement, and threats to cultural sites, but also because the dam is located less than 100 kilometers from a major fault line, posing a risk to basin inhabitants should an earthquake weaken the dam structure or cause landslides in the reservoir. If the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam were to break during an earthquake, it would endanger the lives of hundred of thousands of people by flooding Kachin State’s largest city, Myikyina. In May 2007, twelve respected leaders from Kachin State sent a letter at the request of local communities to Senior General Than Shwe and the junta’s Ministry of Electric Power calling for the project to be cancelled. In December 2007, the Burma Rivers Network also sent a letter to the Chinese government calling on Chinese companies operating in Burma to conduct environmental and social impact assessments, publicly release information, and include affected communities in the decision-making process. Neither letter has yet received a response. In Burma, the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) is working to protect the Irrawaddy River and its communities in Kachin State. International Rivers is working to support local groups’ efforts against the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam and is also challenging CSG’s involvement in dams in Burma..."
Source/publisher: International Rivers
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2011


Title: Irrawaddy/N'Mai/Mali Dams
Description/subject: Burma’s military government signed an agreement with China Power Investment Corporation in May 2007 for the implementation of seven large dams along the Irrawaddy, Mali, and N’Mai Rivers in Kachin State. The largest of the seven, the Myitsone Dam, is located at the confluence of the Mali and N’Mai Rivers at the creation of the Irrawaddy. The dam would destroy the confluence, one of the most significant cultural heritage sites for the Kachin people and an important landmark for all of Burma.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Rivers Network
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


Title: Myitsone Dam
Description/subject: "The Myitsone Dam (Burmese: မြစ်ဆုံ တာတမံ [mjɪʔsʰòʊɴ tàtəmàɴ]; lit. the Confluence Dam) is a large dam and hydroelectric power development project at the confluence of the Mali and N’mai rivers and the source of the Irawaddy River (Ayeyawady River) in Burma (Myanmar). If completed as planned in 2017, it will be the fifteenth largest hydroelectric power station in the world. The dam, planned to be 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) long and 139.6 metres (458 ft) high, to be built by the Upstream Ayeyawady Confluence Basin Hydropower Company, a joint venture between the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), the Burmese Government’s Ministry of Electric Power and the Asia World Company. It is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity primarily for Yunnan, China. CPI contended that China would not be the electricity's primary market and stated that Myanmar would have first claim on the electricity generated, with the remainder sold for export. Opponents remained skeptical because most Burmese are not connected to the electrical grid, and doubted whether the dam would improve their livelihood.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 March 2016


Individual Documents

Title: Transforming Myitsone into a win-win
Date of publication: 04 March 2016
Description/subject: "The incoming National League for Democracy government will soon need to make important decisions about the controversial Myitsone Dam. But it will also have to decide whether and how to harness the considerable opportunities for hydropower generation that exist in Myanmar, where less than one-third of the population has access to electricity..."
Author/creator: Joern Kristensen
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 March 2016


Title: SAVE THE NAMTU RIVER - Impacts of the Upper Yeywa and other planned dams on the Namtu in Shan State
Date of publication: March 2016
Description/subject: In January 2016, Burma’s state media reported that Naypyidaw was proceeding with four new hydropower dams on the Namtu (Myitnge or Dokhtawaddy) River, three of which are in conflict areas of Shan State. These new dams, together with the existing Yeywa dam, will form a cascade blocking half the entire length of the river. The most advanced of the new dams is the Upper Yeywa Dam in Nawngkhio township, started by Burma’s military regime in 2008, and slated for completion in 2018. The planned reservoir will stretch for over 60 kilometers, entirely submerging a large Shan village of nearly 500 residents, called Ta Long, and possibly submerging part of Hsipaw town. Ta Long (meaning “large harbor”) is a prosperous community, renowned in northern Shan State for its organic oranges and pomelos, grown along the riverbank. Ancient stupas in the village are hundreds of years old. Ta Long villagers were neither informed nor consulted before the dam began. An Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was carried out for the dam only in 2014, six years after the dam had begun. During the ESIA, the villagers stated clearly that they were not willing to move. Despite this, dam-building has continued, with funding from China, and with the involvement of Chinese, Japanese, German and Swiss companies. A diversion tunnel has been completed, and construction of the main dam wall was beginning in early 2016. The other planned dams on the Namtu in Shan State -- the Middle Yeywa Dam being developed by Norway’s state-owned SN Power in Nawng Khio township, and the Namtu Dam in Hsipaw township -- are also proceeding without transparency, and without the informed consent of impacted villagers. This cascade of dams will have serious impacts on the ecology of the river. Disruption of fish spawning and migration patterns are likely to negatively impact the rich fish stocks upon which thousands of Hsipaw villagers rely. Toxins from mining upstream are also likely to build up in the reservoirs, endangering aquatic life and the health of those relying on the river. Methane emitted from rotting vegetation in the reservoirs will also contribute to global warming. Another serious concern for villagers living below the planned Namtu Dam in Hsipaw will be the unpredictable fluctuations in water level due to the operation of the dam, and risk of sudden surges causing accidents along the river bank. If there is heavy rainfall, large amounts of water may have to be released, causing flooding downstream. Even more worrying is the possibility of dam breakage, due to pressure from abnormally heavy rainfall, landslides or earthquakes. The Middle Yeywa dam is being planned over the Kyaukkyan fault line, the centre of the biggest earthquake in Burma’s history in 1912, measuring about 8 on the Richter scale. This is of great concern, as the weight of dam reservoirs near fault lines is known to trigger earthquakes. Dam breakage would release a deadly tsunami, destroying any lower dams and also threatening countless communities in the lower plains. Finally, it is highly unwise for Naypyidaw to be pushing through these risky, untransparent dam projects in active conflict zones. Since early 2016, fighting has intensified in Shan townships where these dams are planned. With Naypyidaw’s monopoly over natural resources being a key driver of the ethnic conflict, forging ahead with damaging hydropower projects over the heads of local ethnic communities will only fuel resentment and exacerbate the conflict. We therefore urge the new NLD-led government to immediately halt all plans to build new dams on the Namtu River, including the Upper Yeywa dam. Only when there is a negotiated federal settlement to the ethnic conflict, bringing genuine nationwide peace and decentralized natural resource management, should options for future hydropower development along the Namtu river be considered. Any future plans for hydropower development on the Namtu River must involve a transparent strategic impact assessment along the entire river, and there must be Free Prior and Informed Consent of affected indigenous communities.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation, Shan State Farmers’ Network, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
Format/size: pdf (2.9MB)
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2016


Title: SAVE THE NAMTU RIVER - Impacts of the Upper Yeywa and other planned dams on the Namtu in Shan State (Burmese - ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: March 2016
Description/subject: ၂၀၁၆ ခုႏွစ္ဇန္န၀ါရီလတြင္ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ သတင္းဌာနမွသတင္းထဲတြင္ ေနျပည္ေတာ္သည္ ေရကာတာ ေရအားလွ်ပ္စစ္စီမံကိန္း ၄ ခု ကုိ နမၼတူ( ျမစ္ငယ္ (သုိ႔) ဒု႒ဝတီ )ျမစ္ေပၚတြင္ တည္ေဆာက္ရန္စီစဥ္လွ်က္ရွိေၾကာင္း၊ ၎အနက္ ေရကာတာ (၃)ခုသည္ ယခု ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ ပဋိပကၡ ျဖစ္ရာေနရာအတြင္းတြင္ျဖစ္ေနသည္။ ၎ေရကာတာသစ္မ်ား ႏွင္႔ ရဲရြာေရကာတာတုိ႔သည္ ျမစ္ေၾကာင္းတခုလံုး၏ထက္ဝက္ကုိပိတ္ဆုိ႔လုိက္ရမည္ျဖစ္သည္။ ေဆာက္လုပ္ဆဲအထက္ရဲရြာေရကာတာသည္ေနာင္ခ်ဳိျမိဳ႔နယ္တြင္ရွိၿပီးဗမာစစ္အစိုး ရက၂၀၀၈ခုႏွစ္မွစ၍တည္ေဆာက္ခဲ့သည္၊၂၀၁၈ခုႏွစ္တြင္ျပီးရန္ခန္႔မွန္းထားသည္။ တည္ေဆာက္မည့္ေရေလွာင္ကန္သည္ အက်ယ္အ၀န္း (၆၀) ကီလုိမီတာ ရွိသည္။လူဦးေရ (၅၀၀)ခန္႔ေနထိုင္သည့္ ရွမ္းရြာႀကီး ျဖစ္ေသာ တာလုံရြာသည္ ေရေအာက္လုံးဝျမဳပ္သြားၿပီးသီေပါျမိဳ႔ ၏တစ္စိတ္တပုိင္းတို႔မွာ လည္း ေရေအာက္ျမႇပ္သြားႏိုင္သည္။ တာလုံ ၏အဓိပၸါယ္မွာ (ဆိပ္ကမ္းၾကီး)ဟုဆိုသည္၊စည္ကားသာယာသည္။ ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္- ေျမာက္ပုိင္းတြက္ ေအာ္ဂင္းနစ္ သဘာဝလိေမၼာ္သီး၊ ကြ်ဲေကာသီးတုိ႔မွာ နမၼတူျမစ္ကမ္း တစ္ေလွ်က္တြင္ စုိက္ပ်ဳိးၾက၍ လူသိမ်ားသည္။ ႏွစ္ေပါင္းတစ္ရာေက်ာ္ ေရွးပေဝသဏီ ကတည္းက တည္ထားကိုးကြယ္ေသာ ေစတီပုထိုးမ်ားလည္းရွိသည္။ ေရကာတာ မတည္ ေဆာက္မွီကတည္းက တာလုံရြာသားတုိ႔အား အေၾကာင္းၾကားျခင္း မရွိသည္႔ျပင္ ညိႇႏႈိင္း တုိင္ပင္မႈမ်ားမရွိခဲ႔ေပ။ သဘာ၀ႏွင့္ လူမႈ၀န္းက်င္ထိခိုက္မႈ အကဲခတ္အဖြဲ႕ (ESIA) Environment and Social Impact Assessment တုိ႔က၂၀၁၄ ခုႏွစ္မွသာ စလုပ္ေဆာင္လာသျဖင့္ ေရကာတာစေဆာက္ၿပီး(၆) ႏွစ္မွ ေရာက္လာခဲ့ျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။(ESIA)လုပ္ေနစဥ္တြင္လည္း တာလုံရြာမွ ေဒသခံျပည္သူလူထုတုိ႔မွာ ေျပာင္းေရႊ႔မႈကုိ မလုိိလားၾကေၾကာင္း ရွင္းရွင္းေဖၚျပၾကသည္။ သုိ႔ေသာ္လည္း ဒီေရကာတာတည္ေဆာက္မႈကိုိ တရုတ္အရင္းအႏွီး ႏွင္႔ဆက္လက္ လုပ္ေဆာင္ေနၿပီး တရုတ္၊ဂ်ပန္၊ဂ်ာမန္ ႏွင္႔ ဆြစ္ကုမၼဏီ တုိ႔လည္းပါ၀င္ပတ္သက္ေနသည္ ေရလႊဲေပါက္ဥမင္လုိဏ္ေခါင္း မွ ျပီးစီးေနျပီျဖစ္ျပီး ေရကာတာ၏ အဓိကနံရံကုိ၂၀၁၆ ခုႏွစ္ အေစာပုိင္းတြင္တည္ ေဆာက္သြားမည္ျဖစ္သည္။ ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ နမၼတူ ျမစ္ေပၚတြင္တည္ေဆာက္မည္႔ အျခားေသာ ေရကာတာ စီမံကိန္းမ်ားမွာ ေနာင္ခ်ဳိျမိဳ႔နယ္ တည္ေဆာက္ေနေသာ အလယ္ရဲရြာ ေရကာတာစီမံကိန္းသည္ ေနာ္ေဝႏိုင္ငံပိုင္ အက္စ္ အင္န္ပါ၀ါ ( SN Power) တာဝန္ယူတည္ေဆာက္သည္။ သီေပါျမိဳ႔နယ္ရွိ နမၼတူျမစ္ ေပၚတည္ေဆာက္ေနသည္႔ ေရကာတာလည္း ပြင့္လင္းျမင္သာမႈမရွိသလို ထိခိုက္နစ္နာမည့္လူထူကို ေဆြးေႏြးအေၾကာင္းၾကားျခင္းမရွိေပ။ ၎ေရကာတာ မ်ား၏ အဆင့္မ်ားေၾကာင္႔ ျမစ္ေခ်ာင္းေပၚရွိ သဘာ၀ေဂဟ စံနစ္ကို ျပင္းထန္စြာ ထိခိုက္ႏုိင္သည္။ငါးမ်ားသြားလာက်က္စားရာကို အေနွာက္အယွက္ျဖစ္ေစသျဖင့္ သီေပါျမိဳ႔မွ ေထာင္ေပါင္းေသာ ရပ္သူ၊ရြာသားအမ်ား မီွခုိစားေသာက္ရေသာ ငါးမ်ား ထိခိုက္နစ္နာႏိုင္သည္။ အထက္တြင္ရွိ သတၱဳတူးေဖၚသည့္ လုပ္ငန္းမ်ားေၾကာင့္ ေရေလွာင္ကန္မ်ား အဆိပ္သင့္ရကာ ငါးေတြႏွင့္ အမွီျပဳသည္သူမ်ား၏က်န္းမာလည္း ထိခိုက္ႏိုင္သည္။ သဘာဝေပါက္ပင္မ်ား ေရေဠယင္ကန္တြင္ ပုပ္သုိးျပီးမီသိန္းဓါတ္မ်ားထုတ္လႊတ္သျဖင့္ကမာၻၾကီးကုိပုိမုိပူေႏြးလာမႈ ကုိ ပိုျဖစ္ေစသည္။ အျခားေသာစုိးရိမ္ပူပန္မႈမွာ သီေပါျမိဳ႔နယ္ နမၼတူေရကာတာ စီမံကိန္းေအာက္ပုိင္းတြင္ ေနေသာသူမ်ားသည္ေရကာတာလုပ္ငန္း၏ ေရအတက္အက်ကုိမခန္႔မွန္းနိုင္ရကာျမစ္ကမ္း တစ္ေလွ်ာက္တြင္ ရုတ္တရက္တစ္ရွိန္ထုိးေရႀကီးလာႏုိင္ေသာ အႏၱရာယ္မ်ား ႀကံဳႏိုင္သည္။အကယ္၍ မုိးသည္းထန္စြာရြာသြန္းပါက ၾကီးမားေသာေရထုထည္ကိုေရဂါတာ က လႊတ္ခ်မည္ျဖစ္သျဖင့္ ျမစ္ေအာက္ပုိင္းတြင္္ေရဖုံးလႊမ္းႏုိင္ပါသည္။ ထုိထက္ပုိ၍ စုိးရိမ္ပူပန္စရာေကာင္းသည္မွာ ေရကာတာက်ဳိးပ်က္ႏိုင္ျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။မုိးသည္ ထူးကဲစြာသဲထန္ရြာျခင္း၊ေျမၿပိဳျခင္း၊ငလွ်င္လႈပ္ျခင္းမ်ားေၾကာင္႔လည္းျဖစ္ႏိုင္သည္။ အလယ္ရဲရြာ ေရကာတာ စီမံကိန္းသည္ ေက်ာက္ၾကံ႔ ငလွ်င္လႈိင္းေပၚတြင္ တည္ရွိသည္၊၎ ေက်ာက္ႀကံငလွ်င္လႈိင္း သည္ ၁၉၁၂ ခုႏွစ္က ရိတ္တာစေကး ၈ ခန္႔ရိွျပီး ျမန္္မာ႔သမုိင္းတြင္ အၾကီးမားဆုံးငလွ်င္လႈပ္ဖူးသည္။ ေရဂာာတာေရေလွာင္ကန္၏ အေလးခ်ိန္ေၾကာင္႔ေျမနိမ့္က်ခါ ငလွ်င္ျဖစ္ေပၚႏုိ္င္ျခင္းေၾကာင္႔ လည္း ၾကီးစြာစုိးရိမ္ပူပန္ရပါသည္။ေရကာတာက်ဳိးပဲ႔ပ်က္စီးပါက ေအာက္ပုိင္းရွိ ေရကာတာ မ်ားလည္းက်ိဳးခါ အနိမ့္ပိုင္းရွိ မေရတြက္ႏိုင္ေသာရပ္ရြာမ်ားကုိပါ ဆူနာမီေဘးဆိုး ကဲ့သို႔ က် ေရာက္ခံစားရႏုိင္သည္။ ေနာက္ဆုံးတြင္ ေနျပည္ေတာ္သည္တုိက္ပြဲျဖစ္ရာ ဇုန္တြင္ သိသာျမင္သာမႈမရွိသည္႔ ေရကာတာ စီမံကိန္းကုိ္အတင္း ဆက္လက္ ဖိလုပ္ေနျခင္းသည္ အေမွ်ာ္အျမင္နည္းရာ က်သည္။ ရွမ္းျပည္နယ္ အတြင္းေရကာတာစီမံကိန္းေဆာက္မည့္ေနရာတြင္ ၂၀၁၆ ခုႏွစ္ အေစာပုိင္းကတည္းကပင္ တုိက္ခုိက္မႈ သည္ ပုိမိုမ်ားျပားလာသည္။ ေနျပည္ေတာ္က သဘာဝသံယံဇာတကုိ လက္ဝါးၾကီးအုပ္ေနမႈသည္ ေဒသခံတိုင္းရင္းသား တို႔ႏွင့္ ပဋိပကၡ ျဖစ္ရျခင္း အေၾကာင္းရင္းျဖစ္ရာ စိတ္ထိခိုက္ျခင္းႏွင့္ ပဋိပကၡမ်ားသာ တိုးပြါးလာစရာသာ ရွိေပသည္။ ထို႔ေၾကာင္႔ ကြ်န္ေတာ္တုိ႔မွ အစုိးရသစ္ျဖစ္ေသာ NLD (အန္အဲယ္ဒီ) အား အထက္ရဲရြာ ေရကာတာ အပါအဝင္ နမၼတူ ေရကာတာသစ္တည္ေဆာက္မႈစီမံကိန္းအေကာင္ထည္ေဖာ္ မႈ အားလုံးခ်က္ခ်င္း ရပ္တန္႔ေပးပါရန္တုိ္က္တြန္းေတာင္းဆုိပါသည္။ ပဋိပကၡျဖစ္ေနေသာ တုိင္းရင္းသားနယ္ေျမမ်ားတြင္ ဖက္ဒရယ္အတြက္ သေဘာတူညႇ္ိႏႈိင္းမႈ တည္ေဆာက္မ၊ႈ၊ စစ္မွန္ေသာ တစ္ႏုိင္ငံလုံးျငိမ္ခ်မ္းေရးႏွင္႔ သဘာဝသံယံဇာတ စီမံခန္႔ခြဲမႈတုိ႔ကို ခြဲေ၀မႈ တို႔ျဖင့္သာ နမၼတူျမစ္ေခ်ာင္းတစ္ေလွ်ာက္အနာဂတ္ ေရအားလွ်ပ္စစ္ဖြံၿဖိဳးေရးကို စဥ္းစား ႏိုင္မည္။ နမၼတူျမစ္ေပၚတည္ေဆာက္မည္ဆိုပါက ေရအားလွ်ပ္စစ္စီမံကိန္းကုိမဆုိ ျမစ္ေၾကာင္း တစ္ေလွ်ာက္ သက္ေရာက္မည့္ ေကာင္းက်ိဳးဆိုးျပစ္ကိုထင္ရွားသိသာမႈရွိျခင္း၊သက္ဆိုင္ရာ တုိင္းရင္းသားဌာေန လူမ်ဳိးမ်ားအားႀကိဳတင္ညိွႏိႈင္း သေဘာတူညီမႈရယူရမည္။
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation, Shan State Farmers’ Network, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB)
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2016


Title: SAVE THE NAMTU RIVER - Impacts of the Upper Yeywa and other planned dams on the Namtu in Shan State (Shan)
Date of publication: March 2016
Description/subject: In January 2016, Burma’s state media reported that Naypyidaw was proceeding with four new hydropower dams on the Namtu (Myitnge or Dokhtawaddy) River, three of which are in conflict areas of Shan State. These new dams, together with the existing Yeywa dam, will form a cascade blocking half the entire length of the river. The most advanced of the new dams is the Upper Yeywa Dam in Nawngkhio township, started by Burma’s military regime in 2008, and slated for completion in 2018. The planned reservoir will stretch for over 60 kilometers, entirely submerging a large Shan village of nearly 500 residents, called Ta Long, and possibly submerging part of Hsipaw town. Ta Long (meaning “large harbor”) is a prosperous community, renowned in northern Shan State for its organic oranges and pomelos, grown along the riverbank. Ancient stupas in the village are hundreds of years old. Ta Long villagers were neither informed nor consulted before the dam began. An Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) was carried out for the dam only in 2014, six years after the dam had begun. During the ESIA, the villagers stated clearly that they were not willing to move. Despite this, dam-building has continued, with funding from China, and with the involvement of Chinese, Japanese, German and Swiss companies. A diversion tunnel has been completed, and construction of the main dam wall was beginning in early 2016. The other planned dams on the Namtu in Shan State -- the Middle Yeywa Dam being developed by Norway’s state-owned SN Power in Nawng Khio township, and the Namtu Dam in Hsipaw township -- are also proceeding without transparency, and without the informed consent of impacted villagers. This cascade of dams will have serious impacts on the ecology of the river. Disruption of fish spawning and migration patterns are likely to negatively impact the rich fish stocks upon which thousands of Hsipaw villagers rely. Toxins from mining upstream are also likely to build up in the reservoirs, endangering aquatic life and the health of those relying on the river. Methane emitted from rotting vegetation in the reservoirs will also contribute to global warming. Another serious concern for villagers living below the planned Namtu Dam in Hsipaw will be the unpredictable fluctuations in water level due to the operation of the dam, and risk of sudden surges causing accidents along the river bank. If there is heavy rainfall, large amounts of water may have to be released, causing flooding downstream. Even more worrying is the possibility of dam breakage, due to pressure from abnormally heavy rainfall, landslides or earthquakes. The Middle Yeywa dam is being planned over the Kyaukkyan fault line, the centre of the biggest earthquake in Burma’s history in 1912, measuring about 8 on the Richter scale. This is of great concern, as the weight of dam reservoirs near fault lines is known to trigger earthquakes. Dam breakage would release a deadly tsunami, destroying any lower dams and also threatening countless communities in the lower plains. Finally, it is highly unwise for Naypyidaw to be pushing through these risky, untransparent dam projects in active conflict zones. Since early 2016, fighting has intensified in Shan townships where these dams are planned. With Naypyidaw’s monopoly over natural resources being a key driver of the ethnic conflict, forging ahead with damaging hydropower projects over the heads of local ethnic communities will only fuel resentment and exacerbate the conflict. We therefore urge the new NLD-led government to immediately halt all plans to build new dams on the Namtu River, including the Upper Yeywa dam. Only when there is a negotiated federal settlement to the ethnic conflict, bringing genuine nationwide peace and decentralized natural resource management, should options for future hydropower development along the Namtu river be considered. Any future plans for hydropower development on the Namtu River must involve a transparent strategic impact assessment along the entire river, and there must be Free Prior and Informed Consent of affected indigenous communities.
Language: Shan
Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation, Shan State Farmers’ Network, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2016


Title: Leaked document says CPI “planning to restart” Myitsone dam project
Date of publication: 04 April 2012
Description/subject: Environmental activists concerned that the controversial Myitsone dam project was never in fact halted say that a recently leaked document proves that construction is indeed moving ahead as previously planned.
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Kachin News Group
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 April 2012


Title: Behind Myanmar’s suspended dam 1/3
Date of publication: 28 March 2012
Description/subject: After the decision to shelve a China-funded hydropower plant on the Irrawaddy River caused uproar in Beijing, Qin Hui set off south to learn about the project and its opponents. He opens a three-part article.
Author/creator: Qin Hui March 28, 2012
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chinadialogue
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2012


Title: Behind Myanmar’s suspended dam 2/3
Date of publication: 28 March 2012
Description/subject: China’s resolve not to interfere in its neighbour’s “internal affairs" rings hollow: the country has played a formative role in Burmese history, writes Qin Hui.
Author/creator: Qin Hui
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chinadialogue
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2012


Title: Behind Myanmar’s suspended dam 3/3
Date of publication: 28 March 2012
Description/subject: In a region scarred by violent conflict and rife with distrust of China, the investment risks are plain. Qin Hui concludes his three-part analysis of the fate of the Myitsone dam.
Author/creator: Qin Hui
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chinadialogue
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2012


Title: BRN responds to interview on Myitsone dam by CPI president
Date of publication: 05 October 2011
Description/subject: "The following quotations come from an interview with the president of the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) Lu Qizhou about Burma’s Myitsone dam project. The interview appeared in the Chinese media on October 3. The umbrella activist group Burma Rivers Network (BRN) here releases its response to key points made by the CPI president. Burma’s president Thein Sein announced a halt to the controversial Myitsone Dam project on September 30. Thein Sein also said that discussions would follow with China. LU-Qizhou-cpi CPI chairman Lu Qizhou. Photo: eng.cpicorp.com.cn Lu Qizhou: “I also learnt about this through the media, and I was totally astonished. Before this, the Myanmar side never communicated with us in any way about the ‘suspension’.” BRN: The villagers at the dam site, numerous political and community organizations, and international human rights organizations have attempted to contact CPI and discuss the concerns about the impacts and process of the project. Even though CPI never responded to these attempts at a dialogue, they cannot claim to be unaware of the feeling about this project by the people of Burma. It is impossible that CPI could not have been aware that Burma is in the midst of civil war and that the Irrwaddy-Myitsone dams project is in an active conflict zone. The armed ethnic group in this area, the Kachin Independence Organisation, had directly warned the Chinese government that local people were against the project earlier this year and that proceeding with the dams could fuel further fighting. Without national reconciliation and peace, all investments in Burma face these types of risks. Lu Qizhou: “Ever since CPI and Myanmar Ministry of Electric Power No. 1 MOEP (1) signed the MOU in December 2006, CPI has always followed the principle of mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win result” BRN: Up to now all major investment projects in Burma are negotiated by Burma’s military government and the main benefits have gone to the military. Any win-win result has only been for the military and this is resented by the people of Burma. The lack of transparency by the military and foreign investors increases this resentment. The role and share of the Burmese companies should also be disclosed, including the benefits to Asia World Company and whether military holding companies, the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (UMEHL) and the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) are involved. Lu Qizhou: “We hired topnotch hydropower design institutes, research institutes, consultancies and authoritative experts in China to carry out planning, design, specific study, consultation and supervision for the upstream-Ayeyawady hydropower project.” BRN: The impact assessment jointly carried out by the Chinese Changjiang Institute and the Burmese BANCA stated very clearly that the Myitsone dam should be scrapped and that the majority of the local people were against this project. Why did CPI hire “topnotch” institutes and then not follow their advice? The original EIA was completed in October 2009, which was only leaked earlier this year. CPI has just released an edited version of the EIA and dated it March 2010, which has deleted the key findings and recommendations. Although it was recommended, the original assessment did not include a social impact assessment or an assessment of the impacts on the entire river, particularly downstream. In the current political context, where there is civil war and where communities fear retribution by Burma’s military government, assessors are unable to genuinely access affected communities or collect reliable data. Lu Qizhou: “In February this year, Myanmar's Prime Minister (Thein Sein) urged us to accelerate the construction when he inspected the project site, so the sudden proposal of suspension now is very bewildering.” BRN: Thein Sein should explain his actions if he indeed wanted to accelerate the project. In addition, the Burmese military government must disclose all agreements signed with CPI so that this is a transparent process for everyone to see. Lu Qizhou: “The upstream-Ayeyawady hydropower project is located near the China-Myanmar border, developing hydropower resources here not only can meet Myanmar's power demand for industrialization, but also can provide clean energy for China. It is based on this consideration that we decided to invest in this mutually beneficial and double winning hydropower project.” BRN: We understand that this is a double winning project for China as it can receive 90 per cent of the energy from the dam while Burma has to bear all the social and economic costs. Lu Qizhou: “The Myanmar government will gain economic benefits of USD $54 billion via taxation, free electricity and share dividends, far more than CPI's return on investment during our operation period.” BRN: Over the past several years, Burma’s military government has received billions in revenues from the sale of natural gas to Thailand, yet the country remains impoverished with some of the worst social and economic indicators in the world. The “economic benefits” therefore do not reach the broader public and do not contribute to the genuine development of the country. Lu Qizhou: “As far as I know, in the more than 100-year history of hydropower development, no flood or destructive earthquake has ever been caused by dam construction. We are able to ensure the safety of dam construction.” BRN: Given the increasing frequency and severity of earthquakes, there cannot be a guarantee of safety. No studies about the safety of the dam or about disaster preparation have been disclosed to the public. The world’s worst dam disaster occurred in Henan Province in central China in 1975. Twenty years after the disaster, details started emerging that as many as 230,000 people may have died. Lu Qizhou: “It has become a common consensus that hydropower is the only renewable energy suitable for large-scale development now.” BRN: Rural communities in Burma and Kachin State are utilizing the appropriate technology of small hydropower to realize their electricity needs on their own. The Kachin capital of Myitkyina is one of the few cities in Burma that currently receives 24-hour electricity due to an existing small hydropower project. Decentralized management and the right of local people to manage and utilize the electricity generated by small hydro needs to be promoted in Burma, not large scale projects that are environmentally destructive and export electricity rather than using it domestically. Lu Qizhou: “The Myanmar government attaches significant importance to resettlement for the upstream-Ayeyawady hydropower project, and has effectively led and organized the planning, design and implementation of resettlement… According to the agreement, we assisted in the resettlement work and proactively fulfilled our social responsibilities and obligations, while fully respecting local religion, ethnic customs and the wish of migrants.” BRN: Villagers fear for their lives if they complain or resist relocation at the hands of armed military personnel and have thus been forced to give up their farmlands, accept inadequate compensation, and be herded into a relocation camp where there is not enough farmland and water for livelihoods. People now either have no jobs or low-wage temporary jobs and they cannot continue cultural practices linked to their original homelands. Villagers living in the relocation camp are restricted in movement and are constantly under military surveillance. Over 60 villages, approximately 15,000 people, will eventually be permanently displaced from their homelands due to the Irrawaddy Myitsone project. This dislocation will cause many secondary social problems including conflicts over jobs and land, and an increase in migration and trafficking to neighboring countries. Women will be particularly impacted. Lu Qizhou: “When Myitsone Hydropower Station is completed, it will effectively control and reduce the flood peak, raise the anti-flooding standard in downstream area, and reduce life and property losses caused by downstream flood on people living on both banks.” BRN: Water releases from hydroelectric dams are entirely dependent on the electricity generating needs of the electricity buyer. In this case, all seven dams of the Irrawaddy Myitsone project will serve China’s electricity needs, not the downstream agricultural, transportation or health needs of Burma. Chinese engineers running the dams will decide how much water to release downstream according to orders from Beijing, not Naypidaw. As seen with the Mekong, this can cause unexpected and devastating water surges and shortages..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Mizzima News
Format/size: html. pdf (64K)
Date of entry/update: 06 October 2011


Title: "The government is elected by the people, and it has to respect people’s will" (speech by President Thein Sein to the Hluttaws 30 September 2011)
Date of publication: 01 October 2011
Description/subject: Deals mainly with energy policy and announces the suspension of the Myitsone dam..."...As our government is elected by the people, it is to respect the people’s will. We have the responsibility to address public concerns in all seriousness. So construction of Myitsone Dam will be suspended in the time of our government. Other hydropower projects that pose no threat will be implemented through thorough survey for availability of electricity needed for the nation..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The New Light of Myanmar" 1 October 2011
Format/size: pdf (185K)
Date of entry/update: 01 October 2011


Title: Pragmatic comments by EMG and Ludu U Sein Win on Hydropower Project
Date of publication: 17 August 2011
Description/subject: The Eleven Media Group and veteran journalist Ludu U Sein Win have explicitly made realistic comments on the article written in the state-owned newspapers issued on 9 August 2011 by “A Service Personnel of Electric Power” about the Hydropower Project being implemented in Myanmar... Now, experts from home and abroad, observers, journalists are writing and airing on Myitsone dam hydropower project based on reliable facts and figures that is sure to bring negative impacts likely to trigger from the project.
Author/creator: Win Htut
Language: English
Format/size: pdf (65K)
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2011


Title: Irrawaddy Appeal
Date of publication: 11 August 2011
Description/subject: "...To conserve the Irrawaddy is to protect our economy and our environment as well as to safeguard our cultural heritage. Most important of all, uniting in conservation efforts would carry dividends in the way of better understanding and practical cooperation. Many individuals and organizations have done valuable research on the Irrawaddy and there will surely be no lack of information and practical suggestions that could serve as a basis for a conservation scheme. Much can be achieved simply by the strict application of already existing laws and regulations pertaining to the conservation of forests and rivers. We therefore appeal to environmental experts, to conservationists and to lovers of nature, peace and harmony everywhere to join us in a campaign to create a worldwide awareness of the dangers threatening one of the most important rivers of Asia. Together we can find solutions to problems, ecological, economic, technical, and political, related to the Irrawaddy."
Author/creator: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Language: English
Source/publisher: 54-56 University Avenue, Rangoon
Format/size: pdf (59K)
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2011


Title: Perpetual natural heritage relayed with good volition
Date of publication: 09 August 2011
Description/subject: "...All the hydropower projects the government has been implementing across the nation including the ones on the confluence of the Ayeyawady River, upstream the Maykha River and the Malikha River in Kachin State are prudent ones for all-round development of the regions, and creating job opportunities. So, they are the facilities of national heritage. To sum up, the government has been investing heavily in generation of electric power and building national grids and power houses to supply electricity to the people. It indicates that the government is taking measures in all sectors, utilizing natural resources and aquatic and terrestrial resources across the Union most effectively, in the long-term interests of the democratic nation and the generations to follow. In its drive for improving the infrastructures with benevolent attitude, the government aims to narrow the gab of the rich and the poor and accelerating the development momentum of respective regions in order to hand down the perpetual natural heritage."
Author/creator: A Staff Member, MEPE (Ministry for Electric Power?)
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The New Light of Myanmar"
Format/size: pdf (192K)
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2011


Title: KIO warns China: Myitsone Dam could spark ‘civil war’
Date of publication: 20 May 2011
Description/subject: "In an open letter sent to Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) has asked China to stop the planned Myitsone Dam to be built in Burma’s northern Kachin state, warning that the controversial project could lead to civil war. The English-language letter dated March 16 but only recently made public and obtained by Mizzima states that the KIO ‘informed the military government that KIO would not be responsible for the civil war if the war broke out because of this hydropower plant project and the dam construction’..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Mizzima
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 May 2011


Title: Concern over Myanmar's Irrawaddy dam China investing billions into hydroelectric scheme, which is set to displace many. (video)
Date of publication: 22 April 2011
Description/subject: "Chinese companies are funding a multi-billion dollar project to dam the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar. The river, the longest one left undammed in southeast Asia, is important to the Kachin people, and millions of people up and down its length would be affected by the changes, experts say. When it is dammed, it will leave an area the size of New York City submerged. There are now concerns over who is to benefit from the river's riches. Our special correspondent in Myanmar, who we cannot name for security reasons, filed this report."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Al Jazeera
Format/size: Adobe Flash (2 minutes, 18 seconds)
Date of entry/update: 16 May 2011


Title: KIO Open Letter to the People's Republic of China
Date of publication: 16 March 2011
Description/subject: Text of the open letter sent to Chinese President Hu Jintao, in which the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) asks China to stop the planned Mali Nmai Concluence (Myitsone) Dam Project to be built in Burma’s northern Kachin state, warning that the controversial project could lead to civil war
Language: English
Source/publisher: Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)
Format/size: pdf (878K)
Date of entry/update: 21 May 2011


Title: Environmental Impact Study on Hydropower Development of Irrawaddy River: An Analysis from Burma Rivers Networ
Date of publication: 2011
Description/subject: The Myitsone dam should not be built:"...“With experts, find an alternative option to avoid construction of Mytisone dam at the confluence.” (p. 25) “If Myanmar and Chinese sides were really concerned about environmental issues and aimed at sustainable development of the country, there is no need for such a big dam to be constructed at the confluence of the Ayeyawady River. Instead two smaller dams could be built above Myitsone to produce nearly the same amount of electricity. Hence respecting the Kachin cultural values which surpass any amount of the overall construction costs.” (p. 40) “The construction of the dam on the Irrawaddy should be avoided due to the changes in downriver hydrology which may affect navigation, riverine ecosystem and delta ecosystem and will lead to negative impacts on the economy.” (p. 227)..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Rivers Network (BRN)
Format/size: pdf (86K)
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2016


Title: High and Dry - The cross-boundary impacts of China’s Longjiang dam
Date of publication: 14 December 2010
Description/subject: Summary: "A recently built dam on the Longjiang (Nam Mao or Shweli) river in Yunnan Province of China has severely disrupted the livelihoods of about 16,000 villagers living in the Mao Valley along the northern Shan State border in Burma. The Ruili-Muse border crossing, in the Mao Valley, is the main border trade point between China and Burma, and local communiti es rely principally on income from ferrying goods across the river on either side of the crossing. However, in early 2010, when the reservoir in the Longjiang Dam started to be fi lled, the river dried up, falling to unprecedented low levels and bringing boats to a standsti ll. Since the start of the rains in May 2010, there have been huge daily fl uctuati ons in the river levels, causing not only grounding of boats, but also fl ooding of goods, cutti ng ferry workers' incomes by up to two-thirds. The numerous ferry operators have thus had to drasti cally reduce the numbers of their trips. The resulti ng drop in trade is not only cutti ng the income of the riverside communiti es, but also that of many of the 30,000 people living in the town of Muse, who rely on the border trade. These communiti es were never informed by either Chinese or Burmese authoriti es about the dam and its impacts. They are urgently requesti ng the Chinese authoriti es to modify the dam’s operati on so that the river’s environmental fl ow can be restored, and the disrupti on to their livelihoods minimized. This case study provides evidence that builders of hydropower dams on transnati onal rivers in China have neglected to consider the trans-boundary environmental and social impacts of these projects. There is an urgent need for transparent, comprehensive and parti cipatory assessments of the environmental and social impacts of these projects on the enti re length of the rivers."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Women’s Action Network, Shan Sapawa Environmental Organisation
Format/size: pdf ( 3.62MB - English; 1.1MB - Chinese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/SWAN-2010-High_and_Dry-The_Cross-Boundary_Impacts_of_China_%20Lo...
Date of entry/update: 15 December 2010


Title: Before the Deluge
Date of publication: April 2010
Description/subject: Kachin villagers and exiles hope they can stop plans to build a dam that will flood an area they consider their ancestral homeland
Author/creator: David Paquette
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 April 2010


Title: Dam Nation
Date of publication: April 2010
Description/subject: "Burma and China prepare to build seven hydroelectric dams in Kachin State that will not provide the people of Burma with jobs, security or even electricity Large-scale hydroelectric dams have long been decried for the immense damage they do to the environment and rural communities. Not everyone agrees, however, that the problems associated with mega-dams outweigh their benefits. After all, say pragmatists, dams are a reliable supply of electricity, without which no country can hope to survive in the modern world. (Illustration: Harn lay / The irrawaddy) But in Burma, such arguments fall flat. Not only do massive dam-building projects take an especially high toll on people’s lives—besides destroying villages and the environment, they result in intensifying human rights abuses and make diseases such as malaria more prevalent—they also come without a payoff for the general population. At the end of the day, the electricity they generate—the only benefit the Burmese people can expect to get from them—remains as scarce as ever..."
Author/creator: David Paquette
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 April 2010


Title: That Sinking Feeling
Date of publication: February 2010
Description/subject: The water level on the Irrawaddy River has been decreasing in recent years and looks set to drop farther, as several hydroelectric dams are being constructed... "Born and bred on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Ko Soe says he knows the river like the back of his hand. As a child he swam, fished and played with friends in the Irrawaddy, and today he makes a living from steering boats to and from Mandalay and on the many tributaries that stream into Burma’s longest river. Now 36, he knows all the waterways, the currents and the shallows, as well as the best places for mooring and fishing on this stretch of the Irrawaddy. A passenger boat on the Irrawaddy River But lately, Ko Soe, has found navigating the river a tiresome task. “I’ve seen very low water levels recently and the appearance of sandbanks and islets,” he said. “Sometimes the water is as low as two feet, so many boats cannot pass through. Many vessels get stuck on sandbars.” He said that until five years ago, the water level never sank below three feet. Apart from the millions of livelihoods the river provides for in terms of fishing, trade and farming, the Irrawaddy has supported for centuries an abundant variety of flora and fauna, including the Irrawaddy dolphin, which was once a common sight in the estuaries of the Irrawaddy delta. Experts warn that the flow of the river is in serious danger due to the Burmese military government’s eagerness to promote logging, gold mining and hydroelectric dam projects..."
Author/creator: Sein Htay, David Paquette
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010


Title: Environmental Impact Assessment on Hydropower Development of Ayeyawady River Basin Above Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar
Date of publication: October 2009
Language: English
Source/publisher: Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Assoication (BANCA)
Format/size: pdf (34MB)
Date of entry/update: 31 January 2016


Title: Resisting the Flood: Communities taking a stand against the imminent construction of Irrawaddy dams
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: Message from KDNG: "As a network of residents of Kachin State, we, the Kachin Development Networking Group, have been monitoring plans by the stateowned China Power Investment Corporation and Burma’s military regime to build seven dams on the Irrawaddy River and its two main tributaries. In 2007 we published the report, "Damming the Irrawaddy" which surveyed the environment and peoples in the affected area and analyzed the negative impacts of these dams. Today construction of the 2,000-megawatt Chibwe Dam on the N’Mai River is already underway. The forced relocation of 15,000 people to clear out the flood zone of the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam has also begun. In August 2009 villagers were informed that they must begin to move out within two months. There have been no public assessments of the projects, no consultation with affected people within the flood zone or downstream, and no consent from local residents or the larger population of Burma. As a result, public resistance to the dams is growing. Despite the risks of arrest, torture or death for dissent in military-ruled Burma, brave people are demanding a halt to the dams. Mass prayer ceremonies calling for the protection of the rivers have been held along the river banks and in churches up and downstream. Posters, open letters, and graffi ti from students, elders and prominent leaders have objected to the dams. In a face-to-face meeting with the Burma Army’s Northern Commander, local residents made it clear that no amount of compensation will make up for the losses these dams will bring to their community and future generations. We stand with the people of Kachin State and throughout Burma who oppose these dams. The demand to stop this project has been made clear to our military rulers and now we specifically appeal to China Power Investment Corporation and the government of China to stop these dams..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) via Burma Rivers Network (BRN)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB-reduced version; 1.37MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/KDNG-2009-Resisting_the_Flood-red-en.pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 November 2009


Title: Under The Boot - A Village's Story of Burmese Army Occupation to Build a Dam on the Shweli River
Date of publication: 03 December 2007
Description/subject: "At night the Shweli has always sung sweet songs for us. But now the nights are silent and the singing has stopped. We are lonely and wondering what has happened to our Shweli?" ... "Exclusive photos and testimonies from a remote village near the China-Burma border uncover how Chinese dam builders are using Burma Army troops to secure Chinese investments. Under the Boot, a new report by Palaung researchers, details the implementation of the Shweli Dam project, China's first Build-Operate-Transfer hydropower deal with Burma's junta. Since 2000, the Palaung village of Man Tat, the site of the 600 megawatt dam project, has been overrun by hundreds of Burmese troops and Chinese construction workers. Villagers have been suffering land confiscation, forced labour, and restriction on movement ever since, and a five kilometer diversion tunnel has been blasted through the hill on which the village is situated. Photos in the report show soldiers carrying out parade drills, weapons assembly, and target practice in the village. "This Chinese project has been like a sudden military invasion. The villagers had no idea the dam would be built until the soldiers arrived," said Mai Aung Ko from the Palaung Youth Network Group (Ta'ang), which produced the report. Burma's Ministry of Electric Power formed a joint venture with Yunnan Joint Power Development Company, a consortium of Chinese companies, to build and operate the project. Electricity generated will be sent to China and several military-run mining operations in Burma. As the project nears completion, plans are underway for two more dams on the Shweli River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy..."
Language: English, Burmese, Chinese
Source/publisher: Palaung Youth Network Group
Format/size: pdf (4.76MB - English; 1.35MB - Chinese; 4.41MB - Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.salweenwatch.org/images/stories/downloads/brn/underthebootchinesewithcover_2.pdf (Chinese)
http://www.salweenwatch.org/images/stories/downloads/brn/underthebootburmese.pdf
Date of entry/update: 04 December 2007


Title: Damming the Irrawaddy
Date of publication: 22 October 2007
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The Irrawaddy, one of Asia's great river systems which flows through Burma's heartlands, is about to be dammed. Burma's military junta is allowing Chinese companies to build a giant 152-meter-tall hydropower dam and transmit the electricity back to China. The dam is one in a series that the junta has planned involving the export of power to neighboring countries. While the regime will gain new revenues, Burma's ordinary citizens, who have no say in the process, will bear the costs. A project-launching ceremony for the dam at the confluence (or Myitsone in Burmese), where the Irrawaddy begins, was held in May 2007 in Burma's northernmost Kachin State. The dam will generate 3,600 MW of electricity, most of which will be transmitted to China, fitting into the Chinese Central Government's 'West to East Power Transmission Policy' The power will be worth an estimated US$500 million per year. The Irrawaddy Myitsone dam is the first in a series of seven large Chinese dams to be built along this waterway. Deeply concerned about the dam's potential impacts, elders, community leaders and villagers from across Kachin State have sent protest letters directly to Senior General Than Shwe and the military's Northern Commander to stop the project, but the objections have so far fallen on deaf ears. An estimated 47 villages will be inundated in a region recognized as one of the world'seight "hottest hotspots of biodiversity." Approximately 10,000 people will be displaced, losing their livelihoods, and exacerbating the existing problems of unemployment, drug addiction and HIV/AIDS in the area. Roads that are the link betweenmajor towns in theremote state will be cutoffby the floods impacting communication, transportation, and trade. Recent dam breaks in nearby rivers in 2006 have swept away houses and bridges, causing fatalities and destroying power stations and dam structures beyond repair. Northern Burma is earthquake-prone, and the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam site is less than 100 km from the major Sagaing fault line. Dam breakage or unnatural flood surges would be disastrous for Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State that lies only 40 kilometers downstream of the dam. The well-documented negative impacts of large dams on fisheries, flood plain farming and river bank cultivation will impact the millions that rely on the Irrawaddy. Health concerns that include an increase in malaria and the release of toxic methyl-mercury from the dam's reservoir will endanger Burma's people, further burdening a healthcare system that is ranked as one of the worst in the world. The critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin may become extinct in its namesake river. Human rights abuses by the military have been extensively reported, including the junta's use of troops and landmines to secure large development projects, resulting in forced labor, land confiscation and threats to life. There is no reason to expect that the communities living at the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam site will not suffer the same consequences. Women are particularly susceptible to sexual violence by troops. In addition to these risks, women face pressures to participate in the sex trade once construction sites are set up and livelihoods are lost, and are increasingly vulnerable to human trafficking. For centuries, the Myitsone has been the source of songs, poems and legends which are not only the heritage of the Kachin but all the people of Burma. If this dam were to go ahead, a national cultural landmark would be permanently submerged and lost to future generations. The Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) joins those who have already spoken out to call for an end to the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project. The ruling military junta is promoting mega-development that places all the costs and risks on disenfranchised peoples while fortifying military control. Small-scale alternatives that recognize the rights of local communities and empower them to participate and manage resources are possible. China is an important neighbor that can be a positive influence in the region. KDNG calls on China to abide at least by its own standards when operating in Burma and to heed the voices of affected peoples."
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Kachin Development Networking Group
Format/size: pdf (2.55MB and 1.6MB - English; 2.68MB - Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://burmalibrary.org/docs4/Damming-the-Irrawaddy-bur.pdf (Burmese)
http://burmalibrary.org/docs4/Damming-the-Irrawaddy-eng.pdf (English, 1.6MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 October 2007


Title: Behind Burma’s Economy - An Interview with Zaw Oo
Date of publication: November 2003
Description/subject: "Zaw Oo is one of the directors of the Washington-based think-tank, The Burma Fund. In a written reply to The Irrawaddy, he discussed sanctions and some of the factors behind Burma’s economic uncertainties... Question: For years, experts have warned that Burma’s economy is teetering on collapse and many now expect that tougher sanctions enacted by the US will deliver the final blow. Others say the informal economy and border trade will keep Burma afloat. What is your assessment? Answer: In Burma, we have a sizeable informal economy that parallels the official economy. Sanctions hit the official side of the economy and hit the government hard. Sanctions have a negligible impact on the informal economy, where most Burmese make a living. Therefore, sanctions have damaged some of the government’s main income sources but spared the wider population. Because of the large informal sector, we won’t see the economy collapse in the near term..."
Author/creator: Zaw Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 January 2004