by Minitta Taosouvanh
Regarding to the fact finding in the field Don Sahong village, southern Lao PDR reveals that populations in the village are mostly poor. In particular, women marginalize. Their livelihoods depend on wild food from forest and fish in the Hou Sahong. Their job is mostly fishing; growing rice and raising small number of poultry. The main source of income is from sale fish.
Since 2015, Hou Sahong (it’s a Chanel in the Mekong river) is blocked and rocks were blasted for construction coffer dam of the DSHD, community forest is cut down for developing road to access to the village and for building reservoir. Fishing sites are limited. It is found that during the dam construction, villagers catch less fish and fish has declined.
“There’re less fish because after the project drilled fish passage tunnel, fish had many tunnels for migration through the upstream to the north, and fish from Tongle Sap did not come up because a cement from the construction obstruct them and noise from was disturbing the river so, it may cause fish declined” a fisher said (March 19,2016).
Some of resettlement households they shared their feeling about the new settlement, “I am happy to have new cement house that provides by the DSHD. It is beautiful house I never have like this but actually, I do not want to move from my original homeland because I am worried that it would be difficult for moving and it is quite far from natural resources where I used to find food” said a displaced women (October 12, 2015).
And also interviewed with an old women who moved to the new place, “When I was at my old place it was easier to find food. It was easier to transport by boat, which was faster than motorbike. After I moved here I felt missing my old place because I had big fruit trees. Here, I had to grow new trees” (February, 2016).
I also talked with a fisher in the village, (personal communication, August 12, 2016). he said that this year I have to buy fish in other community because there’s not fish as before and since I grow rice I’ve never sold green rice (raw rice in the rice paddy) but this year I must sell it because my wife and daughter are getting sick I need money for hospital payment and I am very concerned of my family’s livelihoods in the future now I am so worried”.