Extreme Weather 

“Continuous Rainstorms” to blame for Laos dam collapse: Hundreds feared dead

Hundreds of people are missing and an unknown number dead after a dam under construction collapsed in south-east Laos, state media reported.

The collapse at the hydroelectric dam in Attapeu province late on Monday sent flash floods through six villages, Lao News Agency said.

The release of 5 billion cubic meters of water has left more than 6,600 people homeless, it added.

The dam that collapsed is part of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric power project, which involves Laotian, Thai and South Korean firms.

The subsidiary dam, known as “Saddle Dam D”, collapsed after “continuous rainstorms” caused a “high volume of water to flow into the project’s reservoir”, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, the main Thai stakeholder, said in a statement.

As a result, the dam “was fractured” and water “leaked to the downstream area and down to Xe-Pian River” about 5km (three miles) away, it added.

“Saddle Dam D” was 8m wide, 770m long and 16m high – and was designed to help divert water around a local reservoir.

A spokesman for SK Engineering & Construction, a South Korean company with a stake in the project, told the BBC: “We believe parts of the upper part of [the] dam were lost due to heavy rain fall, and water overflowed from the supply dam.”

It is not clear how much advance warning residents were given.


[Featured Image: ABC Laos News]

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