Laos' Khok Kong village is submerged (Photo: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – No Vietnamese has been reported missing as of July 26, while 15 Vietnamese families living in the areas affected by floods triggered by the collapse of the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam in Laos have been evacuated to safe places, local officials said.

Twenty-six workers of Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company have also been taken safely to its headquarters in Attapeu before returning home.

After receiving information about the incident, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 24 requested the Vietnamese Embassy in Vientiane and the Consulate General in Pakse to promptly learn about the situation and carry out necessary protection measures if any Vietnamese was affected.

The Vietnamese Consulate General in Pakse sent representatives to the site to follow the situation and work with relevant agencies of Champasak and Attapeu provinces.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed Vietnamese representative agencies in Laos and neighbouring countries such as Cambodia to closely follow the situation and actively take measures to assist affected Vietnamese families and coordinate with local and Vietnamese authorized agencies to quickly settle arising issues.

At a press conference on July 25, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that 131 people have been still missing after the dam collapsed in Attapeu’s Sanamxay district earlier this week.

The incident has already affected 13 villages and was now affecting six others as the flood has been still flowing, he said, noting that 587 families with 3,060 people have been made homeless.

All villagers stranded on roofs of submerged houses or on trees had been moved to safe places. Rescuers have also provided health check-ups, along with tents, clothes, food, water and medicine for the victims.

The 410 MW hydroelectric power project is being constructed by the Sepien-Senamnoi Power Company (PNPC), a joint-venture formed in March 2012 by SK Engineering and Construction (SK E&C), Korea Western Power (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH) and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). SK E&C holds a 24 percent stake in PNPC, LHSE 26 percent and RATCH and KOWEPO equally split the remaining share in the project.

The project, which is estimated 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 project began in February 2013 and commercial operations were originally expected to begin this year.-VNA