Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith suspended his Cabinet meeting on Tuesday after an under construction saddle dam of the Xe-Pian Dam in the Southern province of Attapeu collapsed in heavy rains, causing flooding of hundreds of households and a massive evacuation effort, according to the Laos News Agency (KPL).
The PM, his cabinet members and other senior officials went to nearby Sanamxay to monitor the rescue and relief efforts underway for flood victims.
The collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Nam Noy hydropower dam on Monday night caused flash flooding in six villages of Sanamxay district, including Yai Thae, Hinlad, Mai, Thasengchan, Tha Hin, and Samong. Hinlad and Mai villages were hard hit.
The disaster has reportedly claimed several lives, left hundreds of people missing and more than 1,300 families (6,600 people) homeless.
The Attapeu Provincial Administration Office has asked for emergency relief aid for flood victims in Sanamxay district. The authority has requested clothing, food items, drinking water, medicine, cash and other relief items, reported KPL online.
Being built by the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company (PNPC), the 410 MW Xe PianXe Namnoy hydroelectric power project is located in the southern region of the Lao PDR and is estimated to annually generate energy of approximately 1,860 GWh, according to www.powertechnology.com.
PNPC is a joint venture formed in March 2012 by SK Engineering and Construction (SK E&C), Korea Western Power (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH), and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). SK E&C hold a 24 per cent stake in PNPC, LHSE 26 per cent, and RATCH and KOWEPO equally own the remaining share in the project.
The project, which is estimated to cost US$1.02 billion (Bt34.1 billion), is the first build-operate-transfer (BOT) project to be undertaken by South Korean companies in Laos.
The feasibility study for the hydroelectric project was completed in November 2008. Construction of the project began in February 2013 and commercial operations were expected to begin in 2018.