Vientiane, 31 July 2018, The European Commission has mobilised €200,000 (LAK 1,958,800,000) in emergency relief for the families most affected by the collapse of a section of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in southern Lao PDR. Heavy rainfall in the country over the past few days resulted in high river and dam levels. On the evening of 23 July, an incident at the dam in Attapeu province resulted in flash flooding, which took the lives of 19 people, with over 130 still missing.
"The European Union will support the International Federation of the Red Cross in delivering vital assistance to those most affected by the tragedy. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, as well as the brave first responders, the emergency services and the volunteers on the ground who are working tirelessly to help people in need," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
The EU support will address the most urgent needs of the affected families, by providing shelter assistance, hygiene kits, housing repair kits, and drinking water. The EU funding is being made available via the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) via its small scale respond fund.
According to UN estimates, the flooding has affected over 11,000 people and left more than 3,000 displaced. Severe damage also occurred to properties and infrastructures including roads, schools, hospitals, irrigation systems and agricultural fields. The Government of Lao PDR has declared the affected areas as National Disaster Area.
The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam under construction in Attapeu province, southern Lao, collapsed on Monday, 23 July 2018, releasing five billion cubic meters of water, the equivalent of over 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. The flooding has affected 13 villages, out of which 6 have been severely affected. This is the largest flooding the country has witnessed in the past ten years, according to the United Nations. The tragedy is bound to have long-term socio-economic impacts, as it has disrupted the livelihoods and well-being of the local communities.
The European Union and its Member States are the largest donors of humanitarian aid in the world. The assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need. The goal of the assistance is to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by disasters caused by natural phenomena and man-made crises. The European Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), assists more than 120 million people affected by conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit the DG ECHO website.
The European Commission's Small-scale Tool is a global fund which allows for rapid funding for up to €300 000 for humanitarian aid in countries affected by natural and man-made disasters.
Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu