Lao villagers displaced by construction of the Nam Ou 3 dam in Luang Prabang are petitioning authorities for help to guard against landslides in their resettlement village, which is built on the edge of a steep hillside overlooking the Nam Ou river, a tributary of the Mekong, sources in the country say.
House foundations and roads in Sobkhing village in Luang Prabang province’s Ngoy district are already cracking, leaving at least one dwelling close to collapse following recent heavy rains, residents of the resettlement site told RFA’s Lao Service this week.
“Yes, we are very afraid of landslides because our houses were built at the edge of a high cliff,” one villager said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Cracks are showing, and one power pole has already been damaged.”
One house built at the very edge of the mountain had already almost collapsed in an area weakened by storms, a second Sobkhing villager said, adding that villagers’ requests to authorities over a two-month period for help had gone unanswered.
“We notified the authorities, but nothing was done. There is a risk to people’s lives if it collapses,” he said.
Reached for comment, an official from the Ngoy district office said that they had not been notified of any problems at Sobkhing, while an official in the local department of natural resources and environmental protection said that villagers should send a letter to provincial authorities, who would then come to investigate.
“They should send a letter right away to the department, directed to the department head. They will discuss this together within the department and then go down to look into it, but I can’t predict what day they will come,” he said.