Mai Van Hao, 61, has lived on the 1.5-hectare islet at the heart of Khe Dien hydropower reservoir since 2003, three years before the investor blocked Nong Son River for construction in Que Ninh Commune, Nong Son District.
“When the hydropower dam was built, my home turned into an islet, but I’m used to living here and didn’t want to move,” Hao said.
His three-room wooden house is surrounded by a forest and lies in Nong Son District Elephant and Species Conservation Zone. Mai Van Duong, its vice director, said authorities used to conduct frequent raids to remove illegally established tents in the zone.
But Hao was spared since he resided here before the project commenced, often collaborating in forest protection initiatives.