Widespread flooding in Laos leaves devastation in its wake

Breaking News August 22, 2018 07:54

By Vientiane Times

Flooding caused by recent storms has killed at least 46 people while 97 other people are missing and four people were injured, according to the latest report from the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee.



Some 82,460 families of 236,188 people in 79 districts of 14 provinces were affected by floods after tropical storms Son-Tinh and Bebinca brought torrential rain from the middle of July to the middle of August.

As many as 11,383 people have been displaced and now live in temporary shelters. About 120 schools have been damaged, posing a challenge for a timely start to the new school year which begins on September 1.

Some 62,980 hectares of rice fields and 41,879 hectares of other crops have been flooded, 208 irrigation systems have been damaged, and thousands of livestock and poultry have died. 

As many as 138 roads and 26 bridges have been damaged with losses estimated at more than 15.8 billion kip.  

The latest count shows that 27 gravity-fed water systems, 26 dispensaries, 36 temples, 64 electricity poles and other structures have also been damaged.

Meanwhile, an assessment of losses and damage is still underway in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province, where a dam collapsed, causing the biggest disaster in decades.

Officials say six out of 13 affected villages were completely wiped out by the flood, which killed dozens of people and left many others missing.

The committee said there was an urgent need for tents, toilets, electricity, clean water, cleaning equipment, dried food, rice, and medicines.

Household equipment, basic essentials for women, construction equipment to repair damaged houses, and nutritious food for children under five is also needed.

Thanks to ongoing support and assistance from various sectors, friendly countries and international organisations, a considerable quantity of relief supplies has been distributed to those in need.

From July 24 to August 17, more than 18 billion kip, over 32 million Thai baht and more than US$12.2 million was donated, according to the committee.

Authorities in charge say they have encountered difficulties in transporting relief supplies from warehouses in Vientiane, Attapeu and Champassak to temporary shelter centres amid continuous heavy rainfall that cut off roads, damaged bridges and covered Sanamxay district in deep mud.

With the relief effort mainly centred on the thousands of displaced people in Sanamxay district, the committee admitted that flood victims in many other provinces have been somewhat neglected.

The committee also warned members of the public to be alert to fake news circulated on social media regarding the floods and their aftermath, as this could distort the truth and exaggerate the situation.

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