Vendors at a market along the Mekong riverside in Vientiane Capital evacuated their stalls on Wednesday morning as floodwaters suddenly inundated the area.
The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology issued a warning to residents living near the Mekong River in its forecast today, telling them to prepare for flooding and relocate valuables and livestock to higher ground.
However, the warning came too late for market stall owners, who were forced to relocate their valuables this morning in a race against time as floodwaters crept higher.
“I had to get up as early as 3 am to remove my dart balloon business,” said Oun, 38, whose husband helped her move their belongings. “We were forced to stop working last week due to heavy rain. Now, it’s flooding.”
“No one warned us! The waters rose so quickly,” another vendor told Laotian Times.
A group of business owners and vendors watch the floodwaters rise at Chao Anouvong Park. (Photo: Manyphone Vongphachanh)
Workers could be observed rushing to retrieve electrical cables connected to a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, and other nearby play equipment before the flood overwhelmed them and caused irreversible damage.
“We were not warned of the approaching floods,” one of the workers said and headed to lift bumper cars from flood water.
The section of the Mekong River running through Vientiane Capital rose by 4.30 meters from 1 August to 8 August, according to a report from Mekong River Commission (MRC), an increase of about 40%.
The river reached an alarming level of 11.67 meters in 2018 at the same location, with nearby shops almost completely submerged and city authorities deploying trucks to pump the waters away.
According to the MRC forecast, water levels could reach 12.5 meters this week.