High Water Levels in Mekong River Causes Collapse of Vientiane Flood Protection Embankment

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(Photo: Ban Hom Channel).

A flood protection embankment in Vientiane Capital’s Hatsaifong District was damaged on Thursday by the increasing water level in the Mekong River.

The Mekong River saw an alarmingly high water level of 12.5 meters on Thursday after the rainfall increased by 40% earlier this month, according to a weather forecast from the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

Residents in Hom and surrounding villages have expressed concern on social media about possible flooding in the area due to the collapse of the flood protection wall.

Mr. Noy Vongvilay, village chief of Phafang, which is located near the collapse site, said that residents discovered the collapsed embankment at around 1 am, but since it was located at a 200-300-meter distance, the village hopes to be safe from flooding.

The collapsed site of the flood prevention embankment in Hatsaifong District, Vientiane Capital. (Photo: Nouthaphone Simmavong).

Regarding the infrastructure of the wall itself, an official from the Hatsaifong Transport and Public Works Department who requested anonymity said the construction of the embankment began in 2019 before being halted by rising water levels when the construction was 65% complete.

According to him, the collapse occurred because the construction of the embankment wasn’t completed. However, he said that the department and the constructor will continue to work on the project and complete it.

Despite this assurance locals in nearby villages are not convinced that they are safe from floods.

“If the rain continues, there is a high risk of flooding in the lower area of my village as the embankment which is supposed to prevent it is broken now,” says Youm, 60, a senior resident of Phafang village. “This is the first year that the water rose this quickly,” he informs.

Vendors at a market along the Mekong riverside in Vientiane Capital had to also evacuate their stalls on Wednesday morning as floodwaters suddenly inundated the area.