Dam to destroy Karen villages

Karen people in Theyetchaung Township, Tavoy, in southern Burma, claim they will be forcibly evicted from their homes by government authorities to make way for the construction of a dam.

Htee Ler Klay (also known as Da Thway Kyauk) villagers say that on November 18, 2011, a Burmese construction company named, Tha Ba Wa Shwa Ain Lain and its senior staff, including the a director, U Kaw Yaw, and the manager U Maung Sein came into their village to start building a dam on the Te Ler Klay River.

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

“The villages of Htee Ler Klay, Nya Pya, Su Lor and Nyaw Klaw will soon be under water and the villagers will be forced to be relocated.”

Most of the local villagers are either Karen or from the indigenous Tavoyan people.

Naw Paw Lay Lay, a villager affected by the dam construction spoke to Karen News.

“The company people didn’t consult with us about the construction of this dam. We saw them bring in their machinery and start constructing and destroying our plantations and betel nut trees – our only source of income.”

Villager Naw Paw Lay Lay says the local people do not want a dam.

“We don’t want our village to be destroyed, we oppose this project. If we cannot oppose it, at least we should be compensated and paid a fair price for the destruction of our land and plantations. We don’t want the dam to be built.”

Saw Eh Ler said it would be difficult for villagers to restart their lives from scratch.

“Our entire community will be destroyed by this dam. We will have to start our lives from the beginning. It will be very difficult for all of us. The dam will give all of us a big problem. The [Burma] government and the company are working together, so it is difficult for us to oppose it. We urge non-government groups to hear our voice and come see how bad the situation we are in.”

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