Lao Government to Suspend All New Hydropower Dam Projects
The government of Laos has announced renewed inspection of existing hydropower dams and suspension of new projects in the wake of the collapse of a dam in Attapeu province.
The announcement was made at the closure of the cabinet’s two-day extraordinary meeting, which ended yesterday afternoon.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, dealt with the progress of relief and reconstruction in the aftermath of the dam collapse disaster.
Inspections of all dams across the country, including those under construction and those in operation, will be undertaken by a special committee comprised of representatives from the Ministries of Public Works and Transport, Natural Resources and Environment, and Science and Technology. A group of international experts will also assist in the inspections.
The team will check for flaws in the design or construction of dams.
The government also made the decision to temporarily suspend new investments in hydropower projects while it reviews its future hydropower development strategy.
Meanwhile, a new task force will be established to investigate the reason behind the collapse of saddle dam D at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower installation on July 23, which flooded villages in Sanamxay district, leaving 100 people missing and thousands homeless.
The new investigative task force will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Government Inspection Authority, Dr Bounthong Chitmany.
To ensure transparency, representatives of the governments of the Republic of Korea and Thailand will be invited to observe the investigation process.
Dr Bounthong will also investigate state authorities responsible for the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower project, and also those responsible for issuing warnings ahead of the incident.
When drawing to a close, the cabinet meeting expressed its deepest gratitude to all individuals and organizations, both Lao and foreign, who gave invaluable assistance and support in the wake of the disaster.