Poor Lao farmers pin hopes on hydropower

Three houses remain in this village where 100 families once lived and the scrubby forest is already beginning to reclaim the abandoned land. The other households have moved to a new village built from scratch. Siang Song, a rice farmer, is about to join the exodus. A pinewood house and a plot within a paddy field await his family of nine. Like the others, Mr. Song plans to demolish his old house and haul the timber to the new site. “With assistance from the government, my poverty should be reduced,” he says.

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