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Floods and Landslides Affect Thousands of Locals

Source: The Star

Many parts of Laos have been severely impacted by flooding and landslides, with farmland, residences, and other property damaged, affecting thousands of people across the country.

Torrential rain has led to severe flooding in several provinces of Laos and roads in some places were damaged by landslides, making the roads impassable.

Two people were killed by the landslide in Bolikhamxay province on Aug 4. And the body of a Vietnamese citizen was found buried under a landslide in Khammuan province on Monday (Aug 14), Laophattana Daily News reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, days of torrential rain have caused landslides blocking roads in districts of Luang Prabang province on Aug 6. Local authorities are making efforts to restore normal traffic.

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The rain will continue to fall across the country, causing rivers to further rise and overflow, according to the Lao Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

“To avoid loss of life and property, we need to remain alert for flash floods and be prepared to evacuate,” a waiter who works at a restaurant in VangVieng, told Xinhua last Friday.

He said that even as the water recedes, anxiety will remain, and the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers.

“If we enter a flood-damaged building, we must be extremely careful. Floodwaters can be polluted and can cause ceilings to fall. And never forget to check or test electrics once floodwaters have receded,” he said.

Another waitress said that flooding in some parts of the country has the ability to disrupt normal tourism activities. Flooding can cause damage to the tourism industry, such as a decline in visitor numbers and damage to facilities.

Vangvieng district administration on Aug. 8, notified tourism operators to suspend a number of activities for safety reasons, particularly those near waterways.

VangVieng district Governor, Bounchan Malavong, told the media that National Highway 13 North has been severely damaged, affecting the movement of vehicles in the region, and some tourism services have also been impacted.

Vangvieng, a tourism town northern to Lao capital Vientiane, saw heavy rainfall on Monday morning, resulting in a rapid rise in water levels across some areas of the district. Some areas have been submerged in knee-deep water, making it almost impossible for vehicles to pass through, according to Laopattana report.

Fortunately, the situation improved as the day progressed, with the floodwater levels gradually decreasing.

Hundreds of villages across Laos are struggling to cope with floods after days of heavy rain.

Local authorities and other partners are working hard to meet the most urgent needs of the flood victims and have deployed a team to support immediate relief efforts.

On Aug 11, Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, accompanied by ministers, visited the Khounkham district in Khammuan province, some 250 km southeast of Lao capital Vientiane, which has been hit by heavy floods.

Over 2,800 families in 14 villages were flooded. Over 6,100 hectares of farmlands were flooded. Almost 17,000 cows, buffaloes, pigs, and goats, and almost 15,000 poultry were swept away by floodwaters.

Sonexay called on provincial and district authorities to observe surveillance of possible natural emergencies and follow weather forecasts as well as be cautious about dengue fever and seasonal diseases that may break out in the aftermaths of the natural disaster.

The Mekong River is close to the danger level at some places after several days of rain. People living along the river’s banks have been warned to stay alert and to prepare to evacuate, if necessary.