Laos reconsiders hydropower strategy after dam collapse hinh anh 1People evacuated after the dam collapse (Source: xinhua)

Vientiane (VNA) – The Lao Government decided to suspend the consideration of new hydropower projects to review the country’s hydropower development strategy after the breach of a dam last month left at least 34 dead and 100 still missing.

The decision followed an abnormal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on August 6-7 during which plans were also made to carry out safety inspections of all hydropower projects already built or under construction in the country.

Inspections will be conducted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ministry of Science and Technology with the help of international experts.

Any irregularities found in the design or construction standard of any dam must be reported to the government.

The Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam collapsed on July 23, causing massive floods which completely isolated six villages in the Sanamxay district of Attapeu province. The incident affected over 1,300 households with 6,600 people.

At the meeting, the government also decided to set up an investigation committee to coordinate with international organisations to look into reasons behind the dam collapse.

The committee will examine the quality of nearly 50 hydropower dams which have been completed as well as the design of those under construction, he said, adding that Laos will also establish a water management board to keep track of the volume of water in lakes.-VNA