Disasters

Drought

A river running out of time – the mighty Mekong reduced to a trickle

In his book, River of Time, Jon Swain evoked brilliantly the heady beauty of Indochina and the great Mekong Delta in the very south of Vietnam, where the river finally meets the South China Sea. He also captured the terrifying uncertainty as the Vietnam War came to ...

LUKE HUNT

Chinese dams and the Mekong drought

The latest reports from the Lower Mekong Basin are cause for growing concern that another period of drought will succeed that of 2019, affecting Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Expected rainfall from late May through June and July has not arrived, and the level of ...

MILTON OSBORNE

Mekong Delta farmers lose durian farms to historic drought and salinity

Farmers in the Mekong Delta are chopping down hundreds of hectares of durian trees that were lost to drought and saltwater intrusion. For years Le Van Thoi has earned VND600-800 million ($25,800-34,400) a year from his durian farm in Cai Lay Town in Tien Giang Province. Thanks ...

Hoang Nam

Are China’s dams responsible for droughts along Mekong River?

Chinese dams aren’t the problem causing droughts for downstream nations along the Mekong River – they are part of the solution – says a Chinese study released in July. The study is an attempt to pour water on claims by a rival US-backed investigation that blamed dams ...

Maria Siow

Laos Builds Road and Workers’ Camp for Luangprabang Dam Ahead of Formal Approval

A Thai dam developer has begun clearing land for a large-scale Mekong River dam near the ancient Lao capital Luang Prabang before signing a hydropower sale pact required for approval, raising concerns from downstream communities already hit hard by Laos’ aggressive damming of the vital ...

RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

The struggle for the soul of the Mekong River

In June of this year, the FAO’s annual State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report ranked the Mekong Basin as the world’s most productive freshwater fishery, accounting for over 15% of global annual freshwater fish catch. Meanwhile, WWF Researchers estimate that the contribution actually accounts ...

BRIAN EYLER, ALAN BASIST, COURTNEY WEATHERBY AND CLAUDE WILLIAMS

Drought, Dams on Mekong River Drop Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake to Record Low Levels

Climate change, drought, and upstream dams have led to record low water levels on the Mekong River, according to experts, who say the shortage is significantly harming Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding fishing communities who rely on it to earn a living. The water ...

Reported and translated by Sovannarith Keo. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

All eyes on Chinese dams as Mekong countries count down to the monsoon

Researchers are worried that Chinese dams will hold back much of the water in the Mekong River this year, similar to last year’s erratic flow after the monsoon which exacerbated the drought in the Northeast of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. China’s dams have recently contributed ...

Mekong is at historical lows

The Mekong is once again at historical lows. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) gauge at Phnom Penh Port shows river level to be four metres below average for this time of year – and lower than last year’s record. This gauge is measuring river level on ...

Mark Hughes

Water wars: Mekong River another front in U.S.-China rivalry

The Mekong River has become a new front in U.S.-China rivalry, environmentalists and officials say, with Beijing overtaking Washington in both spending and influence over downstream countries at the mercy of its control of the river’s waters. It’s a confrontation in which the Trump administration – ...

Kay Johnson, Panu Wongcha-um

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