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22 Jul 2021

Ounkeo Souksavanh & Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia

Three Years On, Lao Flood Survivors Still Dealing With Aftermath of Dam Collapse

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22 July 2021

On the third anniversary of a hydropower dam collapse that caused deadly flooding in southern Laos, villagers in six communities hit hardest by the disaster say they are still facing hardship due to unsuitable land on which to grow crops year-round, a lack of permanent housing, and the near end of monthly rice supplies and financial allowances from the project's builder.


About 3,600 people living in temporary shelters in Attapeu province’s Sanamxay district say they are still struggling to recover with inadequate support from the dam’s developers and the Lao government. They reside in the villages of Thaseangchanh, Hinlat, Samongthai, Thahinh, Mai, and Dongbak.

Besides a lack of permanent housing and a drop-off in food and cash subsidies, the villagers say they do not have access to enough fertile lands provided by provincial authorities to be able to make a living growing rice — a staple food in Laos — which further threatens their food security situation. The floods destroyed their previous farmland.


Bruce Shoemaker, an independent researcher who lived in Laos during the 1990s and worked for several NGOs, said that Xe Pian Xe Namnoy Power Co., Ltd. (PNPC), the company that built the dam, has not made good on pledges to provide proper shelters for the villagers.

PNPC is a consortium of South Korean companies SK Engineering and Construction and Korea Western Power, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding of Thailand, and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). The company previously has said that it could not make the payments to the villagers because of its own financial difficulties.