Today, the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) released a series of shocking pictures showing the destruction of the environment and the disturbing poverty in the Bakun dam exclusion zone in Sarawak, the state of Borneo. Journalists and NGOs were forbidden from visiting the recently filled Bakun dam wall, Asia’s largest dam outside of China, and the world’s second-tallest concrete-faced rockfill dam, due to security measures. BMF researchers managed to get past the security measures.
In order to develop and progress Sarawak’s people, a new hydropower dam of MW was completed just recently. However, the real consequences are displaced indigenous communities forced to live in floating homes and the destruction of an ecosystem considered one of the world’s most biodiverse.
It seems that Malaysia’s showcase project turned into a disaster dam due to the suffering of displaced communities. Thousands of displaced people who have been displaced are living on the Bakun impoundment in floating homes.
A 695 km2 rainforest area, about the size of Singapore, was submerged in the Bakun dam construction, along with a biodiverse ecosystem. It is now possible to observe a unique world being drowned in the Bakun impoundment’s rising waters: trees change their color from green to brown to gray until they disappear forever under the rising waters.
There are close to 10,000 Sarawak natives forcibly displaced from their lands, but many returned to their former homes instead of resettling at the resettlement site.
To give independent journalists and the public a better understanding of what’s happening with these mega-projects, the Bruno Manser Fund calls on Sarawak state government to lift travel restrictions to the Bakun dam construction site and Murum dam construction site immediately.
As well as assisting the Ukits, Malaysia should compensate the submerged houses and lands of other indigenous communities in the Bakun region for being submerged.
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