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Authorities Seeking To Aid Savannakhet Flood Victims

Source: Vientiane Times

Provincial authorities are working to urgently assist flood-affected villagers in Savannakhet by providing drinking water, rice, and other necessities after heavy rain caused flash flooding in the region over the weekend.

Although flood-hit communities have received some assistance from the local authority and donors, many families still need help with health services, hygiene and sanitation, and the provision of general consumer items, according to a provincial official.

Speaking to Vientiane Times via telephone yesterday, Director of Savannakhet province Labour and Social Welfare Department, Mr Bounlob Kotlakkham said provincial authorities called an urgent meeting to organise help for the flood victims following advice from the governor.

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“The floods have damaged homes, as well as fishponds crops, irrigation systems, schools, and healthcare facilities. Many roads are cut, and power failures have occurred in many areas. The flooding also saw damage sustained to irrigation channels, bridges, and irrigation dam s,” he said.

Thousands of families had to move to higher ground when the rising water inundated their single-story homes.

He said the provincial authority would continue to receive donations for as long as assistance is needed and has not set a specific target. People can give according to what they can afford.

“Provincial authorities are repairing bridges and roads and facilitating the work of volunteers in distributing money, food, and clothing,” he added.

This year’s severe weather has caused more than 100 villages in 8 districts of Savannakhet to be flooded to some extent, with many houses submerged and over 10,000 hectares of paddy fields inundated, according to the province’s latest report.

District roads, especially in Xepon, Nong, Virabouly and Phin suffered damage from the flooding along with gravity-fed water systems, dispensaries, temples, electricity poles, and other structures.

At present, local authorities are continuing to collect information on the damage in order to seek assistance. Families living along the Xebanghieng River have been particularly hard hit, especially in Chanphone, Xonbouly, Songkhone, and Tha-pangthong districts of Savannakhet province.

There are no estimates yet on the expected infrastructure damage bill. The water also damaged wood processing plants and small factories, which could impact economic growth and food security in these districts. The Meteorology and Hydrology

Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, issued a weather alert to provincial departments across the country, warning that Tropical Storm Noul could pass over Laos from October 19-21.

The fast-approaching tropical storm was expected to weaken to a tropical depression bringing heavy rain and strong winds to central and southern provinces.

The public is advised to listen for weather forecasts issued by the Meteorology and Hydrology Department through official media channels, especially in Vientiane and the provinces of Savannakhet, Saravan, Champassak, Xekong, and Attapeu.

The department warned that heavy rain could cause flash floods due to severe water run-off, while strong winds could topple trees and power lines as well as damage houses and other property. Forecasters also warned of landslides in mountainous areas and advised people to move their belongings and livestock to higher ground.