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31 May 2020

Max Avary & Eugene Whong, Radio Free Asia

Survivors of 2018 Dam Collapse in Laos Begin Receiving Compensation

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27 May 2020

...[S]urvivors whose villages were washed away are finally being offered land in compensation....


Sanamxay authorities have begun allocating land to survivors of the collapse. The total compensation to about 1,270 families amounts to 2,140 hectares (8.26 square miles) of cleared land, which they can use to grow rice, just as the rainy season approaches.

"[Authorities] have cleared and improved the land and will give it to [the survivors]", an official of the district [said]....

"If a family has two working members, that family will get one hectare (2.47 acres) of land, whereas a family of three or four will get two hectares and so on. However a family consisting of only one person will get nothing. That person must join another family," the official said.

The official added that in addition to new land, the authorities will improve the soil condition of the villagers' former farms that were mud-covered or damaged by the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoi dam collapse, then allow the victims to go back to their old villages and plant rice on their old land.


Another survivor had doubts about the plan.

"Growing rice may not be fruitful. I'm afraid [the land they cleared] will be flooded because this area is flooded every year," the second survivor told RFA.


This official said that government has plans to improve the survivors' living conditions to a normal or stable level by around 2023. The plans include building permanent homes, roads and other infrastructure, allocating land and paying the promised compensation to all remaining survivors.