The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapsed 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. (Source: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC has hired a helicopter to bring its 26 workers out of the flooded area after the collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in the Lao province of Attapeu.

The workers have been isolated in Paksong district in Champasak province which borders Attapeu to the east. They are expected to be evacuated in the morning of July 25.

Nguyen Nhat Hoa, Director of Dai Thang Company – a subsidiary of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, said on July 25 that the workers, including 25 Laotians and one Vietnamese, are safe and very happy when learning that they will soon be rescued.

No Vietnamese casualties have been reported so far in the flooding. Five workers of a Vietnamese sawing factory in the affected area also escaped.

According to local authorities, 18 bodies had been found while about 200 people are still listed as missing following the dam collapse.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapsed 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, have been entirely submerged.

The plant, which has a capacity of 410 MW, is being constructed by the XePien-XeNamnoy Power Company (PNPC). 

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

The project, which is estimated to cost 1.02 billion USD, is the first Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project to be undertaken by the Korean companies in Laos. 

On July 24, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Pcl of Thailand 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 province’s authorities had previously urged the Party, government organizations, business community, officials, police and military forces and people of all strata to provide emergency aid for the victims of the disaster, such as clothing, food items, drinking water, medicines, cash and other relief items.-VNA