Laos Dams: Powering the Future - Al Jazeera 101 East (part 1)

By: 
Al Jazeera East
Date: 
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poverty is high in the small south-east Asian country of Laos, with 40 per cent of children stunted from malnutrition.

But the country does have one trump card.

Its mountains and rivers are ideal for dams, to produce energy that could be sold to power-hungry neighbours like Thailand.

Critics claim these dams will block fish migration, cause massive environmental damage and affect millions of people who depend on the rivers to survive.

But the Laos government is determined to press ahead, building eight hydro-electric projects on the Mekong river and another 50 on its tributaries.

101 East, with presenter Veronica Pedrosa, looks at whether the dams in Laos can lift a country out of poverty, or leave its people hungry. 

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