The collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam caused flash flooding in 10 villages in lower areas and completely isolated Sanamxay district. (Source: Attapeu Today)

Hanoi (VNA) – Tran Thanh Man, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, on July 25 sent a message of sympathy to President of the Lao Front for National Construction Central Committee Xaysomphone Phomvihane over the collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in the Lao province of Attapeu on July 23.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam burst at 20:00 on July 23, releasing 5 billion cu.m of water which caused flash flooding in 10 villages in lower areas and completely isolated Sanamxay district. Five out of Sanamxay district’s villages, namely May, Hinlath, NhaytheSanong Tay, Thasengchan and Thahin, were entirely submerged.

The disaster has left at least 18 dead and about 200 people missing, and made over 1,300 families with 6,600 people homeless.

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

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

The project, estimated to cost 1.02 billion USD, is the first Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) one 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.-VNA