Hinboun District, June 23, 2015IMG 6563

Khammouane people living along the upper and middle stretches of the Hinboun River have begun taking ownership of new villages built for them on flood-safe ground by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company, or THPC.

On June 23 the residents of Ban Pakthuk and Ban Houaydeua witnessed the official handover of the houses, health centre, electricity and water supply systems, roads and other community facilities built by THPC over the past three years. The transfer was signed by Soulideth Baomanikhoth, THPC Deputy General Manager and Ouanma Khantinyavong, the Governor of Hinboun District, witnessed by the Vice-Governor of Khammouane, Odai Sudaporn.

The new Pakthuk site groups families who relocated from the nearby Songkhone and Pakthuk villages in 2013, along with the people of Ban Pakveng, who joined them in 2014. Ban Houaydeua is the new home for villages from Vangmon and Xang villages.

In total THPC has built eight new villages along the Hinboun and Hai rivers. The Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, inaugurated in early 2013, is expected to aggravate the length and intensity of natural floods that occur during some wet seasons, and so THPC has been building relocation villages to ensure that local people are not endangered. Handover ceremonies will be held in other villages in the coming weeks.

The new Pakthuk and Houaydeua villages feature primary and secondary schools, temples and other public infrastructure including an expanded irrigation system. The cost of building each village came to more than US$3 million. Villagers have received new fields in the area and still have access to much of their former land from the old villages nearby. The relocated families can also benefit from livelihood programs to help them improve agricultural production or learn new skills for business development.

At the handover ceremony Mr Khammany Inthirath, Chairman of the THPC Board of Directors, said that while new roads and economic activities in the area had greatly increased the livelihood opportunities in the district over the last 20 years, THPC would continue to provide support to villagers until average incomes had climbed above targets set by the government when the expansion project commenced.

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Many families moving to Pakthuk and Houaydeua chose to build their own houses with THPC funding, and the villages display a mix of architectural styles.

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