About 70 percent of survivors have returned to their villages a year after the catastrophic dam collapse last year in Attapeu, amid ongoing efforts to rehabilitate flood victims.
The disaster occurred on the night of July 23, 2018, when water poured over a saddle dam at the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower project in Champasack Province, leaving at least 70 people dead and over 14,000 living in emergency shelters. The floodwaters caused severe damage to
private property and infrastructure.
Governor of Attapeu Province, Leth Sayaphone, said at a press conference on the state of affairs in Sanamxay District last week that over the past year progress had been made on the rehabilitation of flood victims, with the construction of housing now complete, as well as restoration of necessary infrastructure including electricity and groundwater.“More than 10,000 have returned home while over 4,400 are living in temporary shelters,” said Governor Leth.
Floods destroyed houses and property in a total of 19 villages, affecting 3,540 families, or 14,440 people.
Total losses include a death toll of 71 and USD 15 million in damages.Governor Leth added that the victims have also been provided with relief funds and food stipends, while land for production had been restored.In particular, the people of Sanamxay affected by the flood have
now received 50 percent of the compensation owed to them, he said.
The allocation of land is being made in accordance with the number of family members; families with one able-bodied worker will receive one hectare of land, while those with two or three able – bodied workers will receive two hectares. More than LAK 3 billion (USD 345,540) has been spent
on the purchase of agricultural equipment and materials.
Fruit and vegetable seeds and seedlings have been dispursed, alongside fertilizer and agricultural equipment and agricultural vehicles.
“Every effort is being made to ensure that these families have workable land and can resume production as quickly as possible,” said Governor Leth.
“We will ensure that the livelihoods of flood victims are gradually restored and improved.”
In January the Lao government approved a special budget package worth LAK 500 billion (USD 58.7 million) to repair basic infrastructure damaged by flooding. At that time, the government estimated that the economic loss caused by the disaster had been estimated at approximately
USD 147 million amid damages on a number of roads, bridges, irrigation facilities, and other basic infrastructure, according to Lao News Agency.It also estimated that the total loss could increase to USD 500 million due to the delayed repair of damaged infrastructure, which could impose negative impacts on production activities in the country over time.