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22 Jul 2020

International Rivers, Mekong Watch, & Inclusive Development International

Laos: Two years after dam collapse survivors still face hardships; groups demand accountability from developers & financial backers

"Two Years After Lao Dam Collapse, Call for Justice Persists", 23 July 2020

Two years ago today, at least 70 people died or disappeared and over 7000 were displaced when a dam collapsed in Laos, submerging homes, families and entire villages under a rushing wall of water. On the second anniversary of the disaster, those affected are yet to see justice.


“It is unconscionable that the survivors of the dam collapse still face such hardship and uncertainty over their future” says Maureen Harris, Programs Director at International Rivers. “The compensation for survivors must be sufficient to cover all losses and harms, and include a credible claims process to fully restore the livelihoods of the affected people. The process should be culturally appropriate and include protection against reprisals.”

Information surrounding the causes of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy disaster remains opaque. [...]


Civil society organizations monitoring the dam collapse have repeatedly sought to engage the business stakeholders [...]. Limited response has been received to date. Letters from several UN human rights experts to the governments of Laos, Korea and Thailand and business actors and financiers involved in the project in April 2020, urging them to address ongoing human rights violations experienced by the survivors of the dam collapse, have also gone largely unanswered.

“We urge the project’s developers and financial backers to be accountable for the losses and injustice by engaging meaningfully with affected communities and concerned members of civil society” says Yuka Kiguchi, Director of Mekong Watch. “Time-bound commitments and transparent allocation of funds are needed to show they will fully support people in restoring and sustaining a dignified future.”