Through disasters, a fellowship was struck. Ormboon Thipsuna remembers the date well, Aug 12, 2008, when a deluge of water from the Mekong swept through her hometown of Nong Khai and seven riparian northeastern provinces. Considering the rainfall was rather small and the Mekong’s gradual seasonal pace of fluctuations, many locals believed the sudden mega-flood, at times water levels went up as high as 13m, was caused by China’s dams upstream. Importantly, Ormboon got to know Niwat Roykaew, aka “Kru Tee”, founder of the Rak Chiang Khong group based in Chiang Rai province.
“Kru Tee made us aware of the dams’ impacts. Since then, we have done many campaigns together. I learned about his experiences in conservation movements. We formed the Thai Mekong People’s Network From Eight Provinces, and co-filed a lawsuit to challenge the Xayaburi dam project,” said Ormboon.
VASANA CHINVARAKORN AND PIYANAN JITJANG