A helicopter was dispatched by the Lao Government to send relief to victims of the dam collapse (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Vietnamese agencies, businesses, organisations, and individuals have offered aid to victims of the collapse of the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam in Sanamxay district of the Lao province of Attapeu.

Dao Van Hieu, Vietnamese Consul General to four southern provinces of Laos, visited and presented gifts to affected families on July 27, pledging that his consulate general would provide further practical support to help victims soon stabilise their lives.

The agency has called on many businesses, organisations, and individuals in the four southern provinces of Champasak, Salavan, Sekong, and Attapeu to assist the victims, he said.

The same day, the Vietnamese Association in Attapeu handed over 1 million LAK, along with many essential commodities, to each of the affected families.

Unitel, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Military Industry and Telecoms Group (Viettel) and Lao Asia Telecom Company, also donated 400 million LAK (nearly 50,000 USD) in total to the victims.

Representatives of PetroVietnam Oil Corporation visited and presented 10,000 USD and necessities to the Lao residents.

Earlier, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group donated 50 tonnes of rice, 100,000 packets of noodles, five tonnes of dried fish, and 2,000 sets of clothes to the victims.

What is more, nurses and doctors of Hoang Anh Gia Lai University Medical Centre provided health check-ups and medicine for over 1,000 residents in the flooded localities.

[Photos: A close look at dam collapse incident in Laos]

Since July 25, nurses and doctors from the 2016 Friendship Company based in Paksong district of Champasak province, also gave health check-ups, treatment, and donations to the affected.

The company has so far collected 200 million VND (8,600 USD) in support for the victims.

Over the past few days, the Vietnamese Embassy and its agencies, along with the Vietnamese community and businesses in Vientiane raised an assistance fund of about 45,000 USD.

The Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam collapsed at 8pm on July 23, releasing 5 billion cubic metres of water which completely isolated Sanamxay district. 

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said at a press conference on July 25 that the dam collapse has already affected 13 villages and is continuing to reach six others as the floods are still flowing.

He informed the press that 587 families with 3,060 people have been made homeless, with 131 people still 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). 

SK E&C holds a 24 percent stake in PNPC, LHSE holds 26 percent, and RATCH and KOWEPO equally split the remaining shares 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 expected to begin this year. –VNA