Relief aid pours in for Laos as search for missing continues
Vientiane Times quoted the governor of Sanamxay district as saying this morning that more than 3,000 people were waiting to be rescued from flooded villages. He said 2,851 victims had been reported rescued from locations in Sanamxay district but more require rescue from trees and the roofs of houses.
“A second step for us is to recover and identify the deceased, but for now we hurry to find those who are still alive in the area,” said governor Bounhom Phommasane.
Seven villages and dwellings home to about 1,300 families and over 6,000 people were under water and nearly half of the affected persons have yet to be rescued or otherwise accounted, he was quoted as saying.
At least 19 people have been found dead, and 49 believed missing from the incident, according to unofficial reports from Attapeu Administration office this morning.
Lao official media reported that Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith today flew in a helicopter to observe flood-hit areas and visited some of the relief shelters.
The flooding followed a partial collapse of saddle dam D at the reservoir of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project Monday evening. The dam is about 300 kilometres from the Thai border opposite Ubon Ratchathani.
The administration officials reported that the accident occurred Monday evening, causing waters to breach the damn wall and proceed down the XePian river basin to flood houses and lands in seven villages of the district.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today sent a letter of condolences to the Laotian government and handed over a donation of 5 million baht to Laotian Ambassador Seng Soukhathivong. The Thai Royal Air Force is also on stand-by to fly relief items to Laos while teams of Thai private relief organizations in border areas in the northeast have crossed the border at Chong Mek in Ubon Ratchathani to help with the relief operation. Laotian authorities said there need to be some coordination before they would be allowed to go to flood-affected areas to operate.
The Supreme Patriarch today also instructed Buddhist temples in the northeast to gather foods and other necessities to be sent to the flood-affected areas. Several private organizations along the Thai-Laotian border today also mobilized donations and relief items for the flood victims.
The South Korean government announced it was sending a rescue team within 24 hours while Singapore offered to donate 1.3 milion baht to Laos.