Over 2,100 people will need to be relocated and a further 202,000 people will be directly affected by the building of the Xayaburi dam. It could also lead to the extinction of approximately 41 species of fish with an additional 23 to 100 migratory fish species being threatened through blocked fish migration routes.
The Mekong River Commission is yet to approve the Xayaburi dam project, however building reportedly began five months ago. Environmentalists are concerned that the project has circumvented environmental impact studies.
Several villagers from Xayaburi have said they have been asked to relocate to government provided concrete housing on a nearby mountain. Villagers are given 450 baht compensation for moving.
Social activists from eight provinces including Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Amnat Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani gather in front of the Laos embassy in Bangkok to protest the building of the dam.
Members of the Chiang Kong Conservation Network believe the plan should be delayed for ten years in accordance with the Mekong Regional Committees study or until there is a clear assessment on the environmental impact it could have.
They have also pointed out that the dam's construction would have a severe impact on the river's eco-system and may lead to the extinction of the Mekong Giant Catfish.