After Laos Dam’s Failure, Rescuers Scramble to Save the Stranded
BANGKOK &mdash Rescuers scrambled Wednesday to assist a lot more than 3,000 individuals, many stranded in trees and on rooftops, right after a failed dam flooded villages and farmland in southern Laos, officials mentioned.
At least 26 folks had been killed and dozens a lot more remained missing two days right after the disaster, officials stated. More than six,600 people have been driven from their residences by the flooding, they said, which includes a lot more than 2,800 folks who have been rescued.
&ldquoA second step for us will be to recover and identify the deceased, but for now we hurry to locate those who are nonetheless alive in the area,&rdquo the governor of Sanamxay District, Bounhom Phommasane, told The Vientiane Occasions.
The auxiliary dam, component of the billion-dollar Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric project, failed Monday evening, sending a lot more than 170 billion cubic feet of water rushing downstream.
The official Lao News Agency reported that the dam had collapsed. The main builder of the hydropower project, SK Engineering & Building of South Korea, stated it would investigate whether or not the dam collapsed or overflowed simply because of heavy rains.
International Rivers, an advocacy group that has opposed the fast growth of hydropower dams in Laos, mentioned in a statement posted on the web that the auxiliary dam collapsed as flooding from heavy monsoon rains brought on it to overflow on Monday evening.
The group, which seeks to safeguard rivers around the planet, stated the disaster showed that several dams are not created to manage intense climate events, such as the rains on Monday.
&ldquoUnpredictable and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent due to climate modify, posing grave safety issues to millions who reside downstream of dams,&rdquo the group stated.
Men and women living beneath the dam had only a few hours&rsquo warning to evacuate just before it failed, the group mentioned.
Seven villages in the Sanamxay district of Attapeu Province were flooded and a lot more than 6,000 people were displaced by the dam&rsquos failure, officials stated.
&ldquoCommunities had been not given enough sophisticated warning to make sure their safety and that of their households,&rdquo the International Rivers statement said. &ldquoThis event raises key queries about dam requirements and dam safety in Laos, like their appropriateness to deal with weather circumstances and dangers.&rdquo
The Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy is one of 70 hydropower plants that are planned, underway or have been constructed in Laos, most of them owned and operated by private firms, the advocacy group mentioned.
The project consists of significant dams on 3 tributaries of the giant Mekong River as nicely as many smaller auxiliary dams, or saddle dams, like the one particular that failed.
South Korea and Thailand were mobilizing emergency assistance. Organizations from each nations are involved in constructing and financing the project, which was supposed to offer 90 percent of its electricity to Thailand when it started operating.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea instructed his government on Wednesday to dispatch a rescue and emergency relief team to Laos.
&ldquoThe investigation is nonetheless underway to discover out the causes of the dam incident, but our government should waste no time in actively participating in the rescue and relief operations at the scene since our own companies are involved in the construction,&rdquo Mr. Moon mentioned, according to his workplace.
The South Korean government convened a vice ministers&rsquo meeting on Wednesday to comply with up on Mr. Moon&rsquos order.
Repeated phone calls to the SK E&C spokesman&rsquos workplace at the organization&rsquos headquarters in Seoul went unanswered Wednesday.
Korea Western Energy Co., which has a contract to operate the energy plant when it is completed, mentioned its officials and workers from SK E&C in Laos had joined the rescue and relief efforts. SK E&C deployed one particular helicopter and 11 boats, and Korea Western Energy sent two boats and its nearby healthcare staff.
More workers had been on their way to join the efforts in Laos, stated Chung Tae-heung, a spokesman for Korea Western Energy.
Mr. Chung mentioned there had been two main dams and 5 supplementary dams in the Laos project. One of the five supplementary dams overflowed, damaging the top of the dam and causing the inundation downstream, he said.
Published at Wed, 25 Jul 2018 ten:13:56 +0000