131 missing after dam collapse: Lao Prime Minister
Updated : Thursday, July 26, 2018 3:37 PM (GMT+0700)

LaoPrime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said on July 25 that 131 people are stillmissing after the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam collapsed in southern Laosearlier this week. 

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith - Photo: VNA

The dam collapse has alreadyaffected 13 villages and is now affecting six others as the flood is stillflowing, he said, noting that 587 families with 3,060 people have been madehomeless.

The leader told a pressconference on the day that all villagers stranded on roofs of submerged housesor on trees had been moved to safety.

Rescuers have also providedhealth check-ups, along with tents, clothes, food, water and medicine for thevictims, he added. 

According to the PM, the damcollapse is the first time Lao people have suffered such an impactful disasterin recent decades. 

Heavy rains caused water tobreach the dam of the under-construction Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam,triggering flash floods in several villages, he said. 

At a meeting on July 25, theLao government decided to set up a working group led by PM Thongloun Sisoulithand representatives from ministries and agencies. 

The group will evaluatelosses, trace the cause of the dam collapse and work with the main investor ofthe project to identify the responsibility of stakeholders in settling theincident, he said. 

The Lao Government leaderpledged that he will monitor the settlement, and used the occasion to thankforeign governments and people, as well as international organisations, fortheir sympathy and support. 

He also called on Laosresidents to monitor weather conditions and stand ready to prepare for allpossible situations.

The Sepien-Senamnoihydropower dam collapsed at 20:00 on July 23, releasing 5 billion cu.m ofwater which completely isolated Sanamxay district. Five out of Sanamxaydistrict’s villages, namely May, Hinlath, Nhaythe Sanong Tay, Thasengchan andThahin, have been fully submerged.

Being constructed by theSepien-Senamnoi Power Company (PNPC), the 410 MW hydroelectric power project islocated in the southern region of Laos, according to www.power-technology.com

PNPC is a joint-ventureformed in March 2012 by SK Engineering and Construction (SK E&C), KoreaWestern Power (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH) andLao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). SK E&C holds a 24 percent stake inPNPC, LHSE 26 percent and RATCH and KOWEPO equally split the remaining share inthe project.

The project, which isestimated to cost 1.02 billion USD, is the first build-operate-transfer (BOT)project to be undertaken by Korean companies in Laos.

Construction of the projectbegan in February 2013 and commercial operations were expected to begin thisyear.

On July 25, VietnameseAmbassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung handed over about 2,200 USD to the LaoMinistry of Labour and Social Welfare to support the victims. 

The donation was contributedby the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and its agencies in Laos. 

Lao Deputy Minister ofLabour and Social Welfare Baykham Khattiya said the donation demonstrates thesolidarity between Vietnamese and Lao people to overcome difficulties. 

Later the same day,representatives of the General Association of Vietnamese People in Laos and theVietnamese Association in Vientiane also presented 50 million LAK (about 5,950USD) to victims. 

Cao Anh Son, GeneralDirector of Vietnam’s Star Telecom Company donated 300 million LAK (35,700) tohelp affected residents. 

Also on July 25, the Thaigovernment delivered 5 million THB (about 147,000 USD) grant aid via the LaoAmbassador to Thailand Seng Soukhathivong.

In addition to the money,the Thai government is also providing drinking water, food, medicine and tentsfor the flood victims in Attapeu province.

SK Engineering &Construction Co, which holds a 26 percent stake in the Sepien-Senamnoihydropower plant project,said on July 25 that it will commit all availableresources to respond to the flooding.

Earlier, RoK President MoonJae-in dispatched an emergency relief team to help victims of the dam collapse.


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