Four Years On, Attapeu Dam Collapse Victims Continue to Wait for New Homes

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Attapeu dam disaster victims continue to wait for homes.
Unfinished houses built for victims of the 2018 dam collapse in Attapeu Province.

Victims of the dam collapse in Attapeu Province continue to wait for housing, four years after the disaster.  

When the saddle dam of the Xe Pian-Xenam Noy hydropower project collapsed following heavy rains in July 2018, villagers’ homes were swept away in catastrophic floods, killing 40 people and displacing thousands.

A project to build 700 homes for flood victims, valued at USD 24.5 million, began in June 2020, with funding from the dam developer.

By June 2021, a year later, the project languished at just 60 percent complete, while in February this year, some 299 houses remain incomplete.

Governor of Sanamxay District, Mr. Soulivong Aphayvong, commented on the slow pace of construction back in February, blaming the effects of Covid-19, as well as weather conditions and poor access to the site. He stated that the project should be complete by April, a deadline that has since come and gone.

Meanwhile, further delays have occurred, pushing the project back to as late as December this year.

Governor of Attapeu Province, Mr. Let Xayaphone, told local media during a briefing on the local economy on Friday that the full 700 homes should be complete by the end of 2022.

Governor Let said that the economy of Attapeu Province had grown at a rate of 3.3%, with the average GDP per capita reaching LAK 15 million.

In the days following the disaster, the United Nations financed the construction of 66 houses, with the Thai government funding another 35 homes.

The contractor, Vanseng Construction Development Company, has not commented on the situation since January 2018.

While flood victims did receive some support, many are without homes and have been disproportionately affected throughout the pandemic years.

The collapsed saddle dam at the Xe Pian Xenam Noy hydropower project, however, has since been rebuilt and reinforced with concrete.