Widespread flooding leaves 46 dead, 97 missing in Laos

Flooding caused by recent storms in Laos has killed at least 46 people while 97 others are missing and four people were injured, according to the latest report from the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee.

Some 82,460 families of 236,188 people in 79 districts of 14 provinces, out of the country’s 18 provinces, were affected by floods after tropical storms Son-Tinh and Bebinca brought torrential rain from the middle of July to the middle of August, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

As many as 11,383 people have been displaced and now live in temporary shelters. About 120 schools have been damaged, posing a challenge for a timely start to the new school year which begins on Sept. 1.

Some 62,980 hectares of rice fields and 41,879 hectares of other crops have been flooded, 208 irrigation systems have been damaged, and thousands of livestock and poultry have died.

As many as 138 roads and 26 bridges have been damaged with losses estimated at more than 15.8 billion kip (about 1.9 million U.S. dollars). The latest count showed that 27 gravity-fed water systems, 26 dispensaries, 36 temples, 64 electricity poles and other structures have also been damaged.

Meanwhile, an assessment of losses and damage is still underway in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province, where a dam collapsed, causing the biggest disaster in decades. Lao officials said six out of the 13 affected villages were completely wiped out by the flood, which killed dozens of people and left many others missing.

The committee said there was an urgent need for tents, toilets, electricity, clean water, cleaning equipment, dried food, rice, and medicines.

Household equipment, basic essentials for women, construction equipment to repair damaged houses, and nutritious food for children under five is also needed.

Thanks to the ongoing support and assistance from various sectors, friendly countries and international organizations, a considerable quantity of relief supplies have been distributed to those in need.

From July 24 to Aug. 17, more than 18 billion kip (about 2.1 million U.S. dollars), over 32 million Thai baht (about 1 million U.S. dollars) and more than 12.2 million U.S. dollars were donated, according to the committee.

Authorities in charge said they have encountered difficulties in transporting relief supplies from warehouses in Vientiane, Attapeu and Champassak to temporary shelter centers amid continuous heavy rainfall that cut off roads, damaged bridges and covered Sanamxay district in deep mud.

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