The Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia and supports 70 million people from Tibet to Vietnam. Our reporters traveled its length to tell their stories, producing the "Mekong Diaries," a series of 22 short video reports.
We invite you to travel with RFA down the least developed of the world's major rivers—the Mekong: fragile, beautiful, and threatened as never before.
“The river and my blood are the same,” says a Thai fisherman. “This river runs through my body like a vein.”
“The water of the river never makes us sick,” says a Tibetan nomad in China’s western Qinghai province. “It treats us well because we treat it well.”
The Mekong is an ecosystem that supports more species of fish than any other river except the Amazon, but the millions who live alongside and on it have already had to adapt to the depletion of the fish supply, lowering of water levels, erosion of sediment, and deforestation along its banks.
Master plans for the building of dams exist at nearly every step of the 4,350-km route, all of which involve high political and financial stakes. For millions of people gathered in the various small communities along the river, the challenges are daunting but unaddressed.
“There are three groups interested in the river—the lovers, the admirers, and those who see it as a way to make a profit,” says a community leader in Chiang Khong, Thailand.
RFA, for its part, met with nomads, fishermen and activists, farmers, a King, dam builders, monks, artists, boat captains, scientists, village chiefs, spirit women, academics, protesters and elders—all with their own unique connection to Asia’s “Mother” River.
In late 2009, our reporters traveled from the Tibetan plateau to the Vietnamese delta—shooting video and photos of the Mekong, blogging and tweeting at every stop.
Follow them on the map and watch the videos, or flip through the album and enjoy the ride!
The Mekong Diaries were produced for the Tibetan, Mandarin, Burmese, Lao, Khmer, and Vietnamese language services of Radio Free Asia. Series producer: Catherine Antoine. Multimedia editor: Minh-Ha Le. Web editor: Enver Kadir. The video journalists must remain anonymous to protect them as well the people they interviewed.