Laos Grapples with Extreme Weather Events, Fires in 2023, Causing USD 53.5 Million Damage

House fires

Laos faced a tough year in 2023 as it battled through 76 extreme weather events and fires that caused severe damage across the country. In a recent meeting chaired by Lao Deputy Prime Minister General Chansamone Chanyalath, the extent of the havoc became clear.

These disasters, including storms, floods, landslides, and wildfires, left a trail of destruction estimated at over LAK 1,114 billion (approximately USD 53.5 million).

More than 107,000 households in 125 districts across 16 provinces were heavily affected by these disasters. Among them, 10 lives were lost, and 14 homes were damaged. The damage also extended to schools, hospitals, roads, and farms.

One of the hardest-hit areas was the Phou Phanang National Protected Area in Vientiane Province, where a fierce forest fire took hold.

In response to this climate change emergency throughout 2023, Laos is now intensifying its efforts to bolster disaster response mechanisms and enhance resilience across the nation.
Central and local disaster management committees have been dedicated to enhancing crisis-response capabilities, promptly delivering emergency aid to affected families, and facilitating the restoration of flooded agricultural lands.

Looking ahead, there is an evident sense of urgency to refine post-disaster recovery strategies across Laos for 2024. This issue requires a joint effort to strengthen coordination among disaster management committees, thereby optimizing readiness and responsiveness to unforeseen needs.

In a proactive stride toward fortifying national disaster resilience, authorities are implementing a series of comprehensive measures. Plans are underway to establish a centralized national water resources information center, bolster meteorological and hydrological stations, and enhance earthquake monitoring capabilities. These strategic interventions suggest the government’s commitment to safeguarding lives and livelihoods and ensuring a cohesive, efficient response during times of crisis.