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Save Irrawaddy, No Dam on Burma’s Vital River:Protest At the Chinese Consulate

By Burmese American Democratic Alliance  •  September 14, 2011

Stop Chinese and Burmese regimes and greedy companies from Destroying the lifeline and very precious resource of Burma!

When: Monday, September 19, 2011; 11:30 am – 1 pm

Where: Chinese Consulate, 1450 Laguna Street, San Francisco

Why: The 88 Generation Students’ group in Burma has recently made an action call to help save Irrawaddy. In order to support their call and numerous concerns expressed by many including that of Daw Augn San Suu Kyi,  the activists and Burma supporters in the San Francisco Bay Area are organizing this  protest. The Irrawaddy River has been the lifeline and previous resource, vital of the all the people of Burma. The wellbeing of the river has been neglected for decades  by the successive regimes, and now to fulfill the need of the growing energy of China, the Myintsone Dam is being built on Irrawaddy.

The 945-page “environmental impact assessment,” fully funded by China’s CPI Corporation and conducted by a team of Burmese and Chinese scientists, recommends that the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam not proceed. It found that the dam is lying on the Sagaing Fault and the city of Myitkyina could be disappeared within 20 seconds in case of earthquake. It will also wipe out the Kachin Culture as well as bio diversity hotspots and hundreds of species of plants and animals. It will also have far-reaching and negative impact to the livelihood of population living downstream.

The Irrawaddy River flows from north to south through the center of Burma. Since 2005, Burma’s military junta in partnership with the China Power Investment Corporation  have been preparing plans to build a 3,600 – 6,000 megawatt Irrawaddy Myitsone dam on the river. China Gezhouba is the main dam builder. Located a mile below the confluence of the Mali and N’Mai Rivers in Kachin State, the source of the Irrawaddy River, the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam is the largest of seven dams now proposed for these three rivers. China will receive the bulk of the electricity generated by the project and most likely no electricity to Burma.

If built, the Irrawaddy Myitsone dam would create a reservoir the size of New York City and displace 10,000 people, mostly from the Kachin ethnic group. The dam will also submerge historical churches, temples, and cultural heritage sites that are central to Kachin identity and history.

The dam site is located within the Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin rainforest region, which is recognized as one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots and a global conservation priority. If built, the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam would inundate approximately 766 square kilometers of this pristine rainforest and cause irreversible damage to its river systems. The dam would also disrupt transportation of nutrients to the Irrawaddy’s delta, which provides nearly 60 percent of Burma’s rice.

Local communities oppose the dam not just because of its environmental impacts, displacement, and threats to cultural sites, but also because the dam is located less than 100 kilometers from a major fault line, posing a risk to basin inhabitants should an earthquake weaken the dam structure or cause landslides in the reservoir. If the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam were to break during an earthquake, it would endanger the lives of hundred of thousands of people by flooding Kachin State’s largest city, Myikyina.

Contact: Ko Nyi Nyi Than 510 552 9767; Ko Nyunt Than 510 220 1323, www.badasf.org

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This post is in: Press Release

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