Hydropower-induced displacement and resettlement in the Lao PDR

Claudio O. DELANG*, Matthew Toro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia. Yet it has great potential for hydropower development, and the Government of Laos plans to build a large number of hydroelectric dams on the tributaries of the Mekong. Among the areas where these dams are being built is the Bolaven Plateau, the country's main coffee-producing region, inhabited by 22,000 smallholder households (15,000 of which produce coffee), distributed in small villages of 40 to 300 households each. This paper describes the attitudes of the farmers displaced due to the construction of dams. Fieldwork was carried out in communities displaced by two dams: the Huay Ho, completed in 1997, and the Xe Katam, whose construction, at the time of the fieldwork in early 2009, was planned to start in the near future. By comparing these different communities, the authors look at the attitudes, expectations and perceptions of those faced with future relocation, as well as the difficulties and coping strategies of those relocated, 13 years after they were resettled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-594
Number of pages28
JournalSouth East Asia Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bolaven Plateau
  • Coffee farming
  • Displacement
  • Hydroelectric dams
  • Laos
  • Resettlement


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