Tag Archives: attapeu

A Year On, 70% of Attapeu Flood Victims Return Home

Aerial View of Attapeu Partially Submerged / Photo Credit: Allan Liu (Hope Vision)

About 70 percent of survivors have returned to their villages a year after the catastrophic dam collapse last year in Attapeu, amid ongoing efforts to rehabilitate flood victims.

$US10,000 per Life Lost as PM Thongloun Orders Victim Compensation in Sanamxay

Laos PM Thongloun Sisoulith Orders 10,000USD Compensation from Consortium to Sanamxay District Flash Flooding Victims' next of kin following July 23, 2018 Saddle Dam D collapse at Xe Pian Xe Namnoy.

Compensation of some 10,000 USD has been paid to relatives and next of kin of the 71 confirmed killed and missing presumed deceased in Attapeu’s Sanamxay District following July’s Flash Flooding Disaster based upon an order issued by Laos’ PM Thongloun Sisoulith.

The Prime Ministerial Order identifies the funding of payments to victims of Sanamxay’s District Saddle Dam D Collapse as the responsibility of the consortium SK Engineering and Construction, the South Korean dam construction company, and Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co, the dam operator.

Family and next of kin of each of the 71 people officially accounted for as deceased or missing will receive a one-off US$10,000 (Bt320,000) payment in compensation for the loss of their loved ones in the accident.

Prime Ministerial Order 138 issued January 23 came exactly six months to the day since July 23’s dam collapse which sent a flash flood of water, mud, and debris down the Xe Pian river valley in the middle of the night, claiming victims and their dwellings, leaving others most fortunate to escape with their lives.

Six months after the disaster, the lives and livelihoods of many victims remain precarious as most remain unable to return to their former lands or ways of life.

Thailand’s The Nation reported on the woes of the victims in a report entitled “Dam disaster victims stare at uncertain future” in which it said that “fears linger for livelihoods as new villages being built for Lao victims may not be suitable for agriculture”.

It followed a report in Hong Kong’s The Straits Times on January 21 entitled “Victims of Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam collapse in Laos languish in shelters as aid, supplies dry up”.

While the residents of two out of five camps have moved into their temporary new homes already, hundreds of families still have to live in tents,” the Straits Times report stated.

“The camp residents are suffering from a severe shortage of basic necessities, as donations have dropped drastically after last July’s incident stopped making headlines. They said they had to make do with what little they get from the authorities.”

The Laotian Times continues to report on the dam collapse, response, relief, and its aftermath.

Aerial View of Attapeu Partially Submerged / Photo Credit: Allan Liu (Hope Vision)

Counting the Costs: Disaster Needs in Laos Accumulate as Gov, UN, EU, WB Calculate Impacts

Child flood victims

The tragic loss of life and heavy impacts on livelihoods amid disaster triggered by pounding rains and rushing waters means there is no doubt 2018 has proved a challenging and heartbreaking one for too many people in Laos.

This rainy season has impacted on lives and livelihoods, and nowhere more than in Sanamxay district in Attapeu province, site of the impact of the water released by the collapse of Saddle Dam D at Xe Pian Xe Namnoy project still under construction.

An assessment of the total impact is being conducted as a concerted effort by the government, supported by the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union – EU and is meant to provide in-depth insight on the damage the floods have caused, as well as to define what is needed to fully recover from such impacts.

The importance of accurately and timely measurement of impacts and recovery efforts saw the launch of the 2018 Post-Disaster Needs Assesment Monday attended by some 150 including government representatives led by the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.

The effort will cover the entire country, and focus will be put on the most affected, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and Chairman of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee (NDPCC), Dr Khampheng Saysompheng told the opening ceremony of the orientation on the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA).

Disasters reduce development gains & hamper economic growth, meaning that planning and building in resilience are essential in an era of climate change and to achieve Laos National Socio-Economic Development Plans and the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the meeting heard.

A total of 2,409 villages with 113,507 families have been affected by disasters nationwide in 2018, the NDPCC reported.

Around 17,000 people are currently evacuated from their villages, and 500 kms of damaged roads are making access to these areas difficult.

Some 62 million dollars’ worth of crops and farmlands have been hit and more than 100,000 hectares of paddy fields have been damaged.

Authorities have arranged temporary accommodation for 3,616 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

As the figures suggest, accurately gauging the extent of the impact nationwide is an ongoing challenge.

As such, government officials met with counterparts of development partner bodies to hold a brainstorming session on ways to best assist flooding victims nationwide and estimate damages and losses caused by the slew of recent disasters across the country.

The objectives of the meeting were to assess costs and losses caused by the recent floods across the country, to identify recovery needs to develop a sustainable recovery strategy and to guide donors funding, aiming to build back better and safer and ensure a more successful, resilient and sustainable recovery.

Dr Khampheng called on the participants to share lessons learned from other natural disasters for the successful implementation of relief and rehabilitation measures.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP resident representative, Ms Kaarina Immonen said while the Asia–Pacific region experienced rapid economic growth, disaster risk is outpacing resilience.

For Laos, the emphasis on strengthening disaster risk management is particularly important as this will build resilience to future extreme weather events, Ms Immonen said.

Death Toll Rises to 34 in Attapeu Following Floods

Attapeu Dam Death Toll Rises to 34

The official death toll from the dam collapse in Attapeu province has now reached 34, after three people died in hospital.

One passed away in Sanamxay district hospital, while the other two died at the Attapeu provincial hospital, according to the special government task force which was set up to manage the aftermath of the disaster.

Over 100 people remain unaccounted for after the dam collapse which occurred on July 23, and which caused floodwaters to submerge whole villages.

A total of 13 villages, home to 13,067 people, were affected by the flooding, with over 7,000 people left homeless. The displaced persons are being accommodated at temporary shelters in schools and other government buildings.

Assistance has been provided by a number of countries, including Australia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China, among others, as rescue workers continue to search for survivors.

According to the Vientiane Times, donations provided to Laos and distributed throught he Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare has amounted to more than 14 billion kip, 16.6 million Thai baht, and almost US $2 million, as well as 100 million Vietnamese dong.

Medical staff are hand to provide health services, including nutrition and hygiene assistance, and work has begun repairing roads to facilitate transportation of relief supplies.

Laos Has Not Restricted Foreign Media in Attapeu

Laos has not restricted foreign media

A little more than a week has passed since the collapse of Saddle Dam D at the Xe-Pian Xe-Nam Noy Dam on July 23, and rescuers continue to search for victims of the disaster, while aid has flooded in both domestically and from abroad.

News of the incident has been widely reported by Lao state media as well as international media, and coverage by Thai news agencies has been particularly extensive.

During the initial confusion following the disaster, some news sources made claims that foreign media were denied access to the site, saying visas were refused or reporters were turned away.

Media visas were initially unable to be issued during the uncertainty following the incident and when the extent of the danger remained unknown. By the 27th of July, however, a registration zone had been set up in Sanamxay District where members of the press, both Lao and foreign, could register and receive a press pass.

 

 

Thai Channel 3 reporter, Ms Thapanee Letsrichai, released a video on YouTube explaining that foreign media had been granted full access to the disaster area in Attapeu, and were being registered on site. In her video, Ms Thapanee mentions a simple registration process involving verification of a press ID and passport. She goes on to say that no fees were required as part of this process.

The Lao PDR offers an M-B2 visa type, which is provided to foreign journalists who wish to cover events in Laos. Applications for the M-B2 visa can be made at a Lao consulate abroad or on arrival in Laos. More information can be found at the Lao Department of Immigration website.

 

How to Donate to the Attapeu Flood Victims

how to donate to attapeu flood and dam victims

While news of the Xe-Pian dam overflow has been slow to emerge, social media has been bombarded by photos, videos, and news clips of victims.

Attapeu provincial authorities confirmed that the Xe-Pian Dam breached its banks on Monday, leading to millions of tons of water inundating the local area, and causing widespread damage.

Hundreds are missing and thousands of families have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Flood victims have taken refuge in makeshift disaster relief centers set up by both Attapeu provincial authorities. Former inhabitants of the villages of Mai and Tahin have gathered in the Attapeu Provincial Office.

Others have sought shelter in nearby schools and fields.

All current assistance is being coordinated by the Lao government and the military, and the area has been restricted to all other visitors.

Bridges allowing land transport to Sanamxai are flooded, and donations are reaching the victims by boat.

Members of the public have been encouraged to donate to the cause and ensure the victims receive much needed relief, including food, clothing, towels and blankets, shoes, and sanitary products.

Below is a list of reliable options for making a donation either domestically or from abroad:

1. Vientiane Rescue
The famed Vientiane Rescue team, who recently provided assistance to the Thai soccer team lost in a cave, are helping rescue and provide for the Attapeu flood victims. To make a donation please visit the Vientiane Rescue website here.

2. BCEL One Heart
The BCEL One e-banking application now allows for direct donations via the One Heart icon in the app menu. A form of charitable crowdfunding, One Heart has set a target for 2 billion kip (approximately US$238,000) All funds will be reliably disbursed to the cause. 

3.  The European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR (ECCIL)
The ECCIL is a registered chamber of commerce operating in the Lao PDR. It has pledged its support for the flood victims and is accepting donations at the following bank account:

Bank: Banque Franco-Lao Limited
Account number: 001000085711010028
Account name: European Chamber of Commerce in Lao
SWIFT CODE: BFLLLALA

 

Laos and Vietnam Bolster Ties on Shared Border

During a conference between the Attapeu and Sekong province chapters of the Lao Front for National Construction and the Kon Tum chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front on November 16, both countries reached a consensus on maintaining efforts to build a Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Speaking at the conference, an official of the Vietnam Fatherland Front urged the three provinces’ front organisations to continue coordinating seamlessly in an effort to enhance close cooperation in the implementation of the Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation agreement and development during 2017-2020.

Participants at the event agreed to routinely exchange information and experiences in front work, continue promoting the bilateral friendship and solidarity among local people, particularly those in border districts, and encourage locals to get involved in maintaining security and order in border areas.

Vietnam pledged to coordinate with relevant agencies and businesses in organizing market-days in border areas to introduce its products to Lao locals.

The Attapeu and Sekong provinces shares a 142km border with  Vietnam’s Kon Tum province.

Attapeu International Airport Shuts Down

After flights between Vientiane-Attapeu ceased since October 2016, the Attapeu airport has been temporarily shut down.

Passenger numbers were continually low, and flights were infrequent, with only 139,600 people living in Attapeu Province.

Authorities of Attapeu province revealed that Lao Airlines decided to stop offering flights from Vientiane to Attapeu from October 2016 without releasing any official notice, and had not yet announced this matter to the public.

In addition, local authorities stated that the population of Attapeu is small, although it shares borders with Vietnam and Cambodia. The main economic activities of Attapeu Province are power production, mining, and industrial plantations.  Few tourists visit the province. 

The Attapeu International Airport was opened in 2015 and the total value of the construction was more than 289 billion Kip, or approximately US $36.9 million.