Vientiane Times, 24 March, 2013
Families in 16 villages of Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces who live along the Mekong River and must move to make way for the Xayaboury dam are to receive similar compensation payments.
The 667 families will be paid the same amount as the residents of Huayxouy village in Xayaboury province and Pakneun village in Luang Prabang province after they too had to leave their homes to make way for the massive hydropower plant.
These families received compensation of 200 to 300 million kip from the project developers for the houses and land they had to abandon.
The people of Huayxouy village moved to a newly built village named Na Tor Yai, where the company building the dam provided each family with a two-storey house and a 20 x 30 square metre plot of land. Fishponds were dug and the villagers supplied with pigs, poultry, frogs and fish.
The project developers also built roads and a school and installed water, electricity and telephone lines. They will pay electricity and water bills plus a monthly allowance of 120,000 kip person for a period of one year. If requested, the payments will be extended for another two years.
Xayaboury district Governor Ms Bounphak told Vientiane Times that the residents of Huayxouy and Pakneun villages were moved first because these villages were located on the construction site itself.
The occupants of Pakneun village moved to higher ground in Huayhip village.
The project developers said only Huayxouy village has been relocated to a completely new place, which is closer to the provincial capital. The people of the other villages will move to a higher elevation, but will continue to live along the Mekong River.
In the past, these communities frequently had to make last minute preparations to move their belongings to higher ground when the Mekong rose due to heavy rains upstream.
The people of the 14 villages say they approve of the move to higher ground, as they will no longer suffer from flooding.
The project’s Lead Engineer, Mr Prat Nantasen, said that in the middle of this year two more villages – Khoknahi and Huaydeua – will be moved to higher ground alongside the Mekong.
By 2014, all of the villages that must be relocated will have moved to higher ground. Construction of the dam is scheduled for completion in 2019. The project is already about 10 percent complete following the groundbreaking ceremony last November.