Villagers pray their land will be saved

Dawei villager at prayer service

Villagers in the east of Dawei, Southern Burma are protesting the building of a dam that will destroy their villages and force them to be relocated.

More than 400 villagers from five villages from east of Tavoy, in southern Burma gathered in their village and held a prayers service. The villagers, both Buddhist and Christians prayed for the Htee Ler Klay dam project to be stopped.

Saw Eh Ler, from Htee Ler Klay village, told Karen News.

“The land is our home and our land is our lives. If we are relocated, we know that our plantations…our land will be destroyed and we will face problems. We try to protect and pray our land is not destroyed. We want the building of the dam to be stopped.”

Villagers claim the construction of the Htee Ler Klay (also known as the Da Thway Kyauk dam) will destroy five villages, now inhabited by Karen and Tavoyoan people.

Construction of the dam started in November 2011. The $66.34 million dam is being construct by a Chinese company, the Myanmar Nature Energy Wave. The dam is located 21kilomters east of Tavoy, in Southern Burma. The company claims it will transmit power to Tavoy Town and neighboring villages, but villagers allege the dam will supply power to the Tavoy Industry Zone.

U Myint Aung, from Nya Pya village told Karen News.

“We don’t want to leave our homes, our land to go to a relocation site. If the dam is built, all our land will be under water. All the natural resources in the area will be destroyed.”

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