This Month in Laos - November 2019
We're delighted to introduce our new monthly news update, where we aim to educate our network with 3 key topics covering Laos. Through this we hope to give you as a reader the chance to gain new insights in the field we're working in and what impacts the daily life in Laos.
1. After the Laotian government’s announcement of plans to build the Luang Prabang hydro dam in the Mekong starting 2020, the prior consultations for the project are in progress. This six-month "prior consultation process" started October 8 during where the government shares its plans and stakeholders, including environmental activists, may raise concerns. Issues thus far raised include the project's impact on the environment and the nations the river supports. The movement of water, fish and sediment downstream supports tens of millions of people along the Mekong, and efforts to constrain its flow could be disastrous. The devastation caused by the collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam in Attapeu province shows the potential dangers in the Laotian government's plans.
2. On November 21st, a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 shook a part of the border area between Thailand and Laos. Concrete reports are yet to clarify the situation, however, no immediate damages following the earthquake have been communicated.
3. Remaining on the environmental topic, Laos and its three neighboring countries: Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam might be facing extreme droughts in the next month. The lower Mekong area already has water levels reaching its lowest point in at least 60 years due to insufficient rainfalls in the wet season.