The government’s push to reclaim forest land from encroachers in Ubon Ratchathani’s Khong Chiam district has threatened members of two communities who now face arrest and eviction from their land. To make things worse, construction of Chinese dams in the upper Mekong River in the past decade has severely impacted fish stocks and local livelihoods that depend on fishing.
Almost 27 years ago, communities in the Rasi Salai lost the wetlands, central to their lives, to a dam that flooded the surrounding lands. Thousands of families are still waiting to be compensated to this day. An economic valuation could measure the loss and its monetary value and help determine appropriate compensation.
Floodwaters have receded from two communities in Khon Kaen. Having lost their rice harvest this season, many farmers are awaiting compensation from the government, worried they will be unable to pay off their agricultural loans. As community members return to their daily lives, many are calling for better dam management.