Laos dam collapse: 'Hundreds missing' after flash floods hit
[July 24 2018]
Many villagers were
rescued by boat after the dam collapsed. Picture: Attapeu Today
Hundreds of people are missing and an unknown
number dead after a dam under construction collapsed in south-east Laos,
state media reported.
The collapse at the hydroelectric dam in Attapeu
province late on Monday sent flash floods through six villages, Lao News
More than 6,600 people have been made homeless, it
Pictures from the area showed heavily laden boats
carrying people to safety through muddy water.
"The disaster has claimed several human lives [and]
left hundreds of people missing," the agency reported.
The reason for the collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy
dam is not clear. Its construction began in 2013 and it was due to begin
generating power this year.
The incident follows heavy rain and flooding across
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has postponed
government meetings and gone to the affected area in Sanamxay district
with senior officials to monitor relief efforts, state media said.
Local authorities have appealed to government bodies
and other communities to help provide emergency aid for the victims such
as clothing, food, drinking water and medicine.
Hydroelectric ambitions in Laos
The government in Laos has launched an ambitious
dam-building scheme to become the "battery of Asia"
Laos sits on the Mekong River and its tributaries
- a perfect location for hydro power
The country has 39 hydroelectric power plants, and
53 more are being planned or built
By 2020, Laos also plans to build 54 more
electricity transmission lines and 16 substations
Laos already exports two thirds of its hydropower,
with electricity making up roughly 30% of all Laotian exports
Sources: Hydropower.org and the Laotian Times
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