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IRN’s Vietnam Campaign

Vietnam is a country filled with lush mountains and abundant free-flowing rivers. With an agriculture-driven economy, the Vietnamese government has focused its attention on constructing dams for irrigation and electricity generation. From 1959 to 1999, the government constructed about 500 dams, weirs and sluices. The largest dam in the country is Hoa Binh, which flooded 20,800 ha of land and displaced 58,000 people, most of whom were ethnic minorities. The environmental and social impacts of Hoa Binh were not properly taken into account.

Recently, studies on the impacts of the $1 billion Yali Falls Dam reveal that the project has caused serious impacts on people displaced and communities living downstream. Many of those displaced do not have stable incomes or adequate cultivable land and suffer from shortages of food and drinking water. Some villagers living downstream in Vietnam and Cambodia face health problems caused by degraded water quality and have lost possessions, animals and crops due to flooding caused by the dam. The reports conducted by the Center for Natural Resources and Environment Studies and the Ratanakiri Fisheries Office are available on this site. 

The proposed $3.5 billion Son La Dam would be the largest dam in Vietnam and displace almost 100,000 people. In June 2001, in an unprecedented move, members of the National Assembly expressed concern over the 3,600-MW project and refused to approve appropriations for the dam until further studies regarding resettlement and dam safety have been completed.

IRN is currently monitoring ongoing and planned hydropower projects in Vietnam. We hope this website is a useful source of information on dams in Vietnam. 

latest additions

 
A Work in Progress: Study on the Impacts of Vietnam’s Son La Hydropower Project
Vietnam’s ambitious Son La Hydropower Project could face serious problems if the government’s plan to resettle 100,000 mostly ethnic people is not carried out in a just and fair manner. A new study by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) documents the problems with the resettlement program so far, and suggests solutions that could prevent resettlement plans going awry.  
11-07-06
Introduction to the Study Into Resettlement at Yali Falls Dam (PDF)
This 2004 study investigates how communities displaced by the Yali Falls Dam in Vietnam are faring several years after they were moved. The study finds that problems with land shortages, poor quality housing and sanitation are taking a toll on the health and well-being of the thousands of ethnic minority people who were displaced by the project. The study was conducted by the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources and International Rivers Network.
 
2004
IRN/Probe International letter to World Bank
This letter pertains to the World Bank and Electricity of Vietnam Corporation’s Failure to Compensate for Damages Caused by Se San River Hydro Development.
 
04-29-03
Reply from World Bank to IRN/Probe International
Letter from World Bank regarding Yali Falls Dam.
 
02-24-03
Letter from IRN and Probe International to the World Bank
This letter urges the Bank to investigate the failure of Electricité de Vietnam to compensate thousands of Cambodians for impacts from Yali Falls Dam.
 
10-10-02
Cambodian villagers voice outrage over plans to build Sesan 3
A press release from Culture for Environment and Preservation Association details the fierce opposition by Cambodians to construction of the Se San 3 Dam. Villagers have suffered impacts from the Yali Falls Dam, also located on the Se San River.
 
Yali Falls Dam disrupts lives in Cambodia’s Stung Treng Province
This report documents that thousands of Cambodians have suffered impacts from the Yali Falls Dam, including decreased fisheries, flooded vegetable gardens and increased rates of disease.
 
Planned Dams in Vietnam
This July 2001 report gives a brief overview of the dams most likely to move forward in Vietnam.
 
National Assembly Calls for More Studies for the Son La Hydropower Project
Summary of of article that appeared in VN Express on June 27, 2001.
 
06-27-01
Yali Falls Dam disrupts lives in Cambodia’s Stung Treng Province
This report documents that thousands of Cambodians have suffered impacts from the Yali Falls Dam, including decreased fisheries, flooded vegetable gardens and increased rates of disease.