On 18 and 19 July, Tropical Storm Son-Tinh caused heavy rains and flooding in 55 districts of 13 provinces across Laos PDR. According to the Government, over 24,000 families are affected by these floods thus far. With the water levels in the Mekong River and its tributaries due to rise over the coming weeks, the situation is likely to deteriorate and flooding may spread farther.
In addition to seasonal flooding, an unprecedented flash flood occurred on 23 July in Attapeu Province due to water discharge from the Xepien-Xe Nam Noy Dam. Over five billion cubic meters of water, equal to two million Olympic swimming pools, inundated an estimated 55,000 hectares of land covering it with mud and sludge. The ares is now declared by the government of Laos PDR as a National Emergency Disaster Zone.
This ambitious project of the Laos PDR to become “the battery of Southeast Asia” way before its collapse has been flooded with protests and complains due to danger it posed to the neighboring communities. In fact, this has been already acknowledge as a man-made disaster coupled with heavy rains due to the tropical storm.
CADIS Thailand is organizing its medical team to work in collaboration with Caritas Thailand and the local Diocese of Phak Xe (Laos). Engaging for emergency response is quite challenging due to restrictive government policy as regards to overseas help.
CADIS Thailand team will operate at Sanamchai town in the Attapuee region, the town among the worst-hit areas. Relief goods are distributed to the affected populace.
The primary concern now is to provide life-saving assistance to people affected by the flash floods and re-establish basic services. There is a need to help restore the people’s livelihood and provide safety among the most vulnerable people such as women, children, elderly and those persons with disabilities.