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36 Confirmed Dead, 98 Still Missing In Attapeu

Source: Vientiane Times

Military personnel and a rescue team from Singapore are continuing the search for the 98 people still missing in the wake of the dam burst, with the number of dead confirmed at 36.

The search for those still missing after the district was inundated following the collapse of a dam wall involves teams from the Lao army and a rescue team from Singapore, who are scouring the area in hopes of finding other victims.

Deputy Director General of the General Political Department of the Lao People’s Army, Brigadier General Phalom Linthong, who is Head of the Committee for Search and Rescue Operations, said “On Saturday, we found the body of a three-year-old girl in Hinlath village. This brings the number of known fatalities to 36, including three injured people who died in hospital.”

“Some 585 army personnel and 17 rescuers from Singapore are still continuing the search for missing people but they are hampered by thick mud, which makes it difficult to locate bodies,” he added.“The operation is not easy because many areas remain flooded after a week of rain and we are constantly encountering challenges caused by the thick mud, sand, and buried objects.”

“We need more equipment to help penetrate the mud. Soldiers and the Singapore rescue team are having to wade and walk through muddy water, mud, fallen trees and buildings in the search for the missing,” Brigadier General Phalom said.

The two groups are now focusing on Mai, Hinlath, and Thasaengchan villages.

When the flood first hit on July 23, rescue teams from Thailand, China, the Republic of Korea and Laos arrived on the scene to aid in the search, rescue and relief operation, but they have since returned home.
Authorities in Sanamxay have now moved the camps set up to accommodate those made homeless to asphalt roads after lower parts of the district flooded following several days of rain.

The rebuilding of the road and bridges between Samakhixay and Sanamxay district is being accelerated to enable relief supplies to reach Sanamxay. More work is underway to reconstruct the road from the centre of Sanamxay district to Tamoyoth and Pindong villages, as trucks carrying supplies are still unable to access them.