Over 3 days have passed since the Attapeu dam collapsed in the Laos, leaving 27 dead and 7,000 homeless, however, 131 people are still missing in the disaster.
Although Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has stated that all the survivors of the disaster have been rescued, Laos is still facing a crisis as there are not enough emergency shelters available for the now-homeless citizens and the villages are still underwater. As of today, families are being sheltered in school buildings and there is a need of 1,300 tents for the remaining victims.
The collapse happened while construction was being performed on the $1 billion hydroelectric dam. At the time of the collapse, there was an evacuation order for the villages below the dam after its builder, SK Engineering & Construction, observed multiple cracks in the structure the day before the disaster. Despite this, the warning was only issued hours before the collapse, leaving citizens little time to pack and evacuate the area.
Flooding from the incident has traveled as far as Cambodia, where 25,000 citizens are now being evacuated to avoid danger. Both Laos and Cambodia are currently experiencing unusually high amounts of rain and officials are warning that in the coming days, the water levels will continue to rise. The heavy rains are thought to have contributed to the dam’s failure, but the official reason as to why it collapsed is still unknown.
Emergency relief organizations in Singapore have contributed $150,000 to Laos in response to the tragedy, while the Laos bank, Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao, is raising $238,000 for the victims. Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam have vowed to assist Laos in relief efforts if requested.