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More Than a Hundred Missing, Two Confirmed Dead in Lao Dam Collapse

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Village near a lake in Laos

A village near a lake in Laos. Photo: DEZALB (Pixabay).

More than a hundred are reported missing, with two confirmed dead, following the collapse Monday night of a dam being built in Champassak province in southeastern Laos, Lao sources said.

Despite early warnings of a possible breach due to heavy rainfall, many were left behind in their homes when water poured over a saddle dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower project, Bounhome Phommasone—governor of the Sanamxay district of Attapeu province, downstream—told RFA’s Lao Service on July 24.

“We’re making strong efforts to evacuate villagers in the affected villages while they wait on the roofs of the houses to be rescued,” Bounhome said, adding, “Some of them are trapped in the trees.”

Around 4,000 residents of seven villages in Sanamxay have now been moved to higher ground, with approximately 2,000 taken to the area of district offices and the rest moved to safety in other places, Bounhome told RFA.

“We have provided them with emergency aid, and the exact number of those we have evacuated will be finalized later,” he said.

Villages have been flooded to a depth of from four to five meters, with the flood water in some areas now six meters high, he said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, another district official said that two bodies have been recovered so far, with over 100 villagers still unaccounted for.

Full story:

Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Ounkeo Souksavanh. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Copyright © 1998-2017, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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