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23 Jul 2022

Radio Free Asia

Four years after Laos’ worst dam catastrophe, survivors still live in limbo

23 July 2022

Four years after a dam collapse that caused Laos’ worst flooding in decades, survivors who lost everything say they are tired of waiting for the government to provide them with new homes and arable land.


UN experts [...] called on the Lao government to rectify the situation.

“It is shameful that four years since homes and livelihoods were washed away, many survivors continue to live in unsanitary temporary shelters, without access to basic services, and are still awaiting the compensation promised to them,” said the 10 experts, comprised of six special rapporteurs and a four-member working group.


They said it was disturbing that the survivors and human rights defenders might face retaliation for bringing attention to their issues, which happened in 2019, and they noted that two other dams in the area show similar signs of impending failure as saddle dam D prior to its collapse in 2018.


The deadline for finishing the homes has been continually extended since the May 2020 agreement between Attapeu’s Public Works and Transport Department and the Vanseng Attapeu Construction Company. 

Vanseng was to receive $25 million from the PNPC to complete 700 homes by the end of 2020.

But only the skeletons of 200 homes had been built by then, and the deadline slipped to 2021. [...]