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27 Jul 2019

Radio Free Asia

New Report Pleads for Accountability on First Anniversary of Laos Dam Collapse

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23 July 2019

...[A] new report from two NGOs found that nobody has been held accountable for the catastrophe that caused what has been described as Laos’ worst flooding in decades.

...In Reckless Endangerment: Assessing Responsibility for the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy Dam Collapse, International Rivers and Inclusive Development International detail the disaster, explaining why it occurred, who is to blame, and how survivors are coping with displacement one year later.

...One section of the report explains that living conditions in the camps are so terrible that some have returned prematurely to their old villages. It paints another picture for those who still remain in the camps.

“For many, the extended existence in a state of uncertainty without adequate food, water and other basic necessities has greatly exacerbated feelings of frustration and despair,” the report said.

...[T]he report also touches on finding out who should be taking responsibility for the disaster.

...The report names each entity associated with the project. In particular, it found that that the project’s lead developer and builder may have been at fault.

“The Korean firm SK Engineering & Construction (SK E&C) may have caused the collapse by cutting corners in order to maximize profits,” the report said, also noting that the company has denied responsibility.

...“The company has yet to offer an alternative explanation for the collapse,” the report added.

...The report also urged banks to divulge their roles in the project and use their leverage with the various responsible companies to more effectively address the continuing concerns of the disaster survivors.

Finally, the report recommends that the PNPC project be suspended until all those displaced have access to land and adequate homes of comparable value to what they lost, with an effective grievance mechanism in place.