Military Region 5 asks units to join rescue efforts in Laos hinh anh 1The High Command of Military Region 5 of Vietnam joins rescue and relief efforts in the dam collapse incident in Laos. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Shortly after receiving information about the collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in Laos, the High Command of Military Region 5 of Vietnam asked its South Laos Friendship Co. Ltd. to send 10 medical workers and hundreds of personnel to join rescue and relief efforts.

The company disbursed 200 million VND to purchase essential goods for local residents affected by the incident, while K53 team under the Military Command of the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, which was on duty in Laos, was requested to coordinate with Lao forces to search for missing people and help affected residents to overcome the aftermath.

Kon Tum province’s Military Command was also required to prepare personnel, vehicles and materials to coordinate with relevant forces of Laos in surmounting the consequences of the floods when it is ordered by the High Command.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam burst at 20:00 on July 23, causing flash floods in 10 low-lying villages and completely isolated Sanamxay district. Five of Sanamxay district’s villages – namely May, Hinlath, NhaytheSanong Tay, Thasengchan, and Thahin – were entirely submerged.

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told media on July 25 night after inspecting the disaster-hit sites that initial figures showed 131 people were missing.

The Attapeu Provincial Administration Office had previously confirmed the death toll from the incident amounted to 19.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower plant was being constructed by the XePian-XeNamnoy Power Company (PNPC). 

PNPC is a joint venture between Republic of Korea’s SK E&C and Korea Western Power, Thailand’s Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, and Laos’ Holding Sate Enterprise. 

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

On July 24, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding issued a press release announcing that unexpected heavy rains caused the dam to collapse.

High volumes of rainwater fractured the dam and caused a deluge in the downstream area of Xe-Pian River, it said.

Attapeu authorities had previously urged the Party, government, organisations, businesses, officials, police and military forces, and the public to provide emergency aid for the victims of the disaster, such as clothing, food items, drinking water, medicine, cash, and other relief items.-VNA