The Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam collapsed at 8:00pm on July 23, causing massive flooding which completely isolated Sanamxay district. (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – The Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam collapsed because of substandard construction, the Lao News Agency KPL quoted the country’s Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthilath on July 27.

Minister Khammany Inthilath told a press conference in Vientiane that the collapse of Saddle Dam D of the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower project on July 23 was due to poor-quality construction.

Together with the relief efforts, the cause of the accident is being investigated, he said, adding that under the agreement, involved parties must be responsible for compensation.

The Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam collapsed at 8:00pm on July 23, causing flash floods which completely isolated Sanamxay district.

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said at a press conference on July 25 that the dam break had already ravaged 13 villages and affected six others as the flood was still flowing.

He said that 587 families with 3,060 people were made homeless, while 131 people were reported missing.

The Sepien-Senamnoi hydroelectric power plant is being constructed by the Sepien-Senamnoi Power Company (PNPC), which is a joint-venture of SK Engineering and Construction (SK E&C), Korea Western Power (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH), and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). 

Construction of the project, which is estimated to cost 1.02 billion USD, began in February 2013 and commercial operations were expected to begin this year.–VNA