Cancel the Tampur Dam that will Threaten Millions of People

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I cannot imagine if the dam collapses. The Government of Aceh is planning to develop Tampur Hydroelectric Dam (PLTA Tampur) – a 173-meter gigantic dam on an unstable and earthquake-prone land!

Almost every year Aceh Tamiang suffers from landslide. Imagine, if the dam that is holding 6 million tons of water collapses, hundred of thousands of people living in downstream Aceh Tamiang will be swept away by tsunami-like flood.

Has this risk been informed to the local community? Is the Environmental Impact Assessment (AMDAL) study of the project sufficient?

The people of Aceh Tamiang are still traumatized. That day in December 2006, only 2 years after the Aceh tsunami disaster, a flash flood hit 90 per cent of Aceh Tamiang. According to the District Integrated Command Post Secretariat, a total of 28 people died and 200.000 were forced to evacuate. Infrastructures in the riverside were destroyed.

Now, must they face similar threat from the government’s ambition to develop the Tampur dam to become an energy warehouse for Sumatra? Is the development of the Tampur dam really urgent to meet Aceh’s demand for energy? For whose interest?

This another 5 reasons why this mega project must be cancelled:

  1. The Tampur hydro dam’s site is located inside the Protected Forest of the Leuser Ecosystem, Aceh. If the project proceeds, 4,000 hectares of Protected Forest, habitat of the Sumatran elephant and other species, will be inundated. The forest will become a lake, and hundreds of people must be relocated.
  2. Road construction for the project will cut through the Leuser’s pristine forest, a World Heritage Site and part of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra. Once the forest is cleaved, then other destruction will follow such as degraded wildlife habitat, forest fire, wildlife poaching, illegal logging, etc.
  3. The river in the Leuser Ecosystem is an important source of drinking water, transportation, and irrigation for millions of people in Aceh and North Sumatra. For thousands of people in Aceh Tamiang, the river is the source for livelihood for fishing. If the river is dammed, clean water access will be gone, and their livelihood will be threatened.
  4. According the Society for Health, Education, Environment and Peace (SHEEP) Foundation, there are several things lacking in Tampur’s Environmental Impact Assessment (AMDAL). The AMDAL seemed forced and rushed, and even community relocation and wildlife conflict mitigation were ignored. Until now, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) has not issued any permit, but the provincial government has signed an MoU between the government of Aceh and Prosperity International Holding (HK) Limited witnessed by the Governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf.
  5. The government of Aceh should maximize the current energy production which can still generate around 400 MW surplus for Aceh or develop alternative energy program outside of forest area without negative impact against the ecosystem and the local community.

Help me sign the petition so The Provincial Government of Aceh and the Government of Indonesia will cancel Tampur Hydro Dam!

Matsum, resident of Aceh Tamiang & Love the Leuser Coalition.