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Thailand Sends Immediate Aide to Laos After Hydro Dam Collapses

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Prime Minister has instructed officials to provide assistance to Laos, following the collapse of Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in the southern region.

According to Kiattikhun Chartprasert, the Thai Ambassador-Designate to the Lao PDR, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha gave the instruction to officials after his return from the recent mobile cabinet meeting in the Northeastern region. He was briefed on the situation and immediately sent help and offered words of condolence to neighboring Laos.

The Ambassador said the Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane will today give funds of 100,000 baht to Laos’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khamphao Ernthavanh as initial financial support. Those wishing to contribute to the relief efforts can donate through the Royal Thai Embassy-Donation Krung Thai Bank account number 945-1-03-115-4.

The Thai Embassy in Vientiane is also accepting dry food, survival kits, drinking water and medicines. For more information about donations, please call 66 2354 6195-6 extension number 111 or 856 21 214 581-3 extension number 111.

Last night, Laos’ state media reported hundreds of people missing and several feared dead after a hydropower dam under construction in southern Laos collapsed, causing flash flooding which swept away homes.

The Lao News Agency reports that the disaster has left more than 6,600 people homeless. A video on social media shows villagers wading through muddy flood waters carrying belongings. ABC Laos news reported that officials have brought boats to help evacuate people in San Sai district of Attapeu province, where the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam is located, as water levels rise after the collapse.

The company building the dam said heavy rain and flooding caused the collapse that released five billion cubic meters of water and it is cooperating with the Laos government to help rescue villagers near the dam.

According to ABC Laos News, Thai rescuers have arrived at the site to provide assistance, while adding that local residents have taken to social media to express their gratitude toward Thailand for the gesture of help.

People walk through flooded area after being brought to safety by boat in Sanam Xay district, Attapeu Province, Laos after a hydropower dam under construction in Southern Laos collapsed.

Meanwhile, the South Korean government said today it will soon send a disaster relief team to the area of Laos affected by the massive flooding that has claimed scores of lives, Yonhap news agency reported.

The government decided to dispatch the Korea Disaster Relief Team (KDRT), composed of rescue workers and medical staff, as early as possible in an inter-agency meeting and was presided over by Deputy Foreign Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs Kang Jeong-sik.

An advance group plans to leave for the Southeast Asian country “within the next 24 hours,” according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It will be composed of officials from the ministry, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the National Fire Agency and the National Medical Center.

Details of the KDRT to be sent there, including the exact timing, will be decided later via consultations with the Laotian authorities, it added.

Earlier in the day, President Moon Jae-in instructed the government to push for various ways to help Laos, including the dispatch of a rescue team.

SK Engineering & Construction, a South Korean firm, is a partner in the dam-building project.

Source: Thai PBS, AFP

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