Hinboun District, June 1, 2013

People in the newly-built village of Ban Phou Houaylat in Hinboun District, Khammouane Province, planted about 2,300 trees around their village to mark National Tree Planting Day on June 1. Joined by local officials and staff from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC), the villagers took a major step forward in the improving the environment around their new settlement while at the same time contributing to their developing community.2014treeplantPhouHouaylat

The new village was built over the last two years by THPC to provide a flood-safe location for three villages living along the Hinboun River. The Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, inaugurated in early 2013, is expected to aggravate the length and intensity of the natural floods that occur during some wet seasons, and so THPC has been building relocation villages along the Hinboun and Hai rivers to ensure local people are not endangered.

Two communities, Ban Phakteuk and Ban Songkhone, moved to the Phou Houaylat relocation site in 2013 and the people of Ban Pakveng joined them earlier this year. The new site features improved housing, roads, and other public infrastructure including an irrigation system. Villagers have received new land in the area but also have access to much of their former land nearby.

Leading the tree-planting ceremony were Khammouane provincial officials, together with leaders of Hinboun and neighbouring Khounkham districts, plus THPC management. The saplings included mango, jackfruit, litchi, tamarind and mangosteen trees as well as some shade species and industrial trees.

Teachers and pupils from the village’s two new schools, primary and secondary, will be responsible for looking after the young trees planted around the schoolyards during their first wet season, while householders of the three former villages will maintain those planted around their residential areas.

THPC Deputy General Manager Soulideth Baomanikhoth said the planting of the trees would not only help the new village look greener in the future but would also help people feel more at home in the new village and increase their feeling of belonging. “Moving somewhere new can be difficult”, he said, “and our actions to improve the environment help us connect with the new location”.

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