Thursday, 22 May 2008

Fear of future disasters should stop China's dam projects in Northern Burma: KDNG

Fear of unnamed future disasters should stop China from going ahead with dam projects in Northern Burma.

The Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) has strongly urged China to stop its current dam projects in Northern Burma to avoid a rerun of the dam disaster faced in China's earthquake hit Sichuan Province, the group leader said.

China warned three days after the magnitude of the earthquake, which was 8.0 on the Richter scale hit Sichuan on May 12, that if the dams in the earthquake zones burst, the floods could put millions in peril as a "secondary disaster", the state media Xinhua news agency reported.

The earthquake in China has killed over 40,000 people, however millions of people in the earthquake zone are living under great danger of hydroelectric power dams' bursting, the Xinhua stated.

Meanwhile, the joint inspection team of China and Burma for the seven-dam projects, estimated to generate 13,360 MW, is underway in Kachin State in Northern Burma which is on the earthquake zone along with China's Yunnan Province.

They have plans to generate 3,600 MW of electricity on the Irrawaddy confluence (Myitsone) in Irrawaddy River, 2,000 MW project in Chibwe, 1,600 MW project in Pashe, 1,400 MW project in Lakin, 1,500 MW project in Phizaw, 1,700 MW project in Khaunglanhpu (Hkawnglang Hpu) in N'mai Hka River and, 1,560 MW project in Laiza in Mali Hka River in Kachin State.

The projects are being implemented by "The Hydropower Project Implementation Department under the Ministry of Electric Power (1) and China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) since 2006.

Among them, heavy inspection is underway at Myitsone in Irrawaddy River and Chibwe in N'mai Hka River by Chinese engineers for the last two years, eyewitnesses said.

Mr. Awng Wa, Chairman of KDNG warned, "If the seven dams are built in Kachin State, Myitkyina Township the capital of Kachin State will be at risk of floods from dams where an estimated population 140,000 live. Hundreds of thousands of people in Waingmaw, Sinbo and Bhamo Townships along the Irrawaddy River will also live in the danger zone."

The KDNG published a report titled "Damming the Irrawaddy" last year and urged both Chinese and Burmese governments to stop the dam projects in Myitsone, the Irrawaddy confluence, one of the best tourist attractions in northern Burma.

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