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Multimillion-dollar assistance for Lao dam collapse victims

Developers of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Hydropower project have extended a multimillion dollar aid to the victims of the dam collapse for relief and recovery operations in Sanamxay, Lao Deputy Prime Minister said this week.

The flash floods in Southern Attapeu province were caused by the collapse of an auxiliary dam of the project on July 23. The dam is being constructed by four investors – two companies from South Korea, one each from Thailand and Laos.

Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co., Ltd (PNPC) – a joint venture company formed by four investors – has built temporary houses with 140 rooms and 5 toilets costing more than 6.8 billion kip (US$800,000), Mr Sonexay Siphandone told the local media in a press conference on Monday.

The company has worked with the relevant Lao authorities in assessing economic, environmental and the social impact in the 19 villages affected by the flooding.

The PNPC has also provided more than 85.2 billion kip (US$10 million) to the Lao government for financing relief, recovery and related works.

Given that the temporary houses are insufficient to house the displaced, the PNPC is currently constructing additional houses with 306 rooms amounting to more than 17 billion kip (US$2 million) to accommodate the displaced villagers. Another 10 billion kip was also provided by the company.

Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Co., Ltd – a Thai stakeholder in the project has provided more than 1.3 billion kip (5 million baht) to help recover the damages and losses.

A Korean stakeholder in the project, Korea Western Power Co., Ltd. (KOWEPO) has handed over more than 8.5 billion kip (US$1 million) to stimulate effort for the relief and recovery. Korean stakeholder, SK Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. (SKEC) has given 24 billion kip (more than US$2.8 million) to the Lao government. Another stakeholder is Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE).

The deadly flooding – the worst in decades affected 19 villages that are home to 3,540 families with 14,440 people. Of these, six villages were completely wiped out leaving thousands of people homeless.

Some 40 people were killed by the flooding, including six others, who succumbed in the hospital. Some 31 persons remain missing to date.

After the Sanamxay flooding, friendly countries, international organisations, businesses, Lao and foreign individuals have extended invaluable assistance and support for the search, rescue, relief and recovery mission both in kind and in cash. The total assistance has amounted to more than 285.5 billion kip.

Homeless victims have moved to live in temporary houses where they have received assistance – including with food, according to Dr Sonexay, who is also Chairman of the National Ad Hoc Committee in-charge of dealing with the aftermath of the disaster.

Each victim is provided money daily for meals along with 20 kilograms of polished rice a month.

As of August, each affected family was given 500,000 kip in cash as reserve money to cover their necessary expenses. Since September, each person is given 100,000 kip in cash a month to meet their personal expenses.

Some 1.5 million kip was provided for the victims to cover the funeral ceremony.

Published : October 18, 2018

By : The Vientiane Times Asia News Network Vientiane