Vientiane Embankment Nearly Finished

Construction of the 12 kilometre embankment for flood protection in Vientiane will be completed on schedule by December this year.

Director of the Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Dedsongkham Thammavong, told the Vientiane Times on Friday that completion of the project is not too far away now.

Nearly two kilometres more needs to be finished and then the project is complete. The workers are carrying this out at Vattay-Yai village in Sikhottabong district.

The project, which began in 2009, called for the construction of riverbank protection from an area near the Australian Embassy in Sisattanak district to the Tadthong junction in Sikhottabong district.

In addition to providing secure flood protection, the development has given Vientiane an additional and beautiful area of land for residents and visitors to enjoy, from Don Chan Island through Chao Anou Park.

The overall cost of construction is more than US$30 million, which the Republic of Korean provided as a low-interest loan to the Lao government.

In March 2006, the Korea Overseas International Cooperation Agency gave a grant of US$800,000 to the Lao government for a feasibility study on the project.

In September 2007, the Lao government officially adopted the project in a bid to prevent erosion along the riverbank.

Laos has lost more than 80 square kilometres of land along the bank of the Mekong River since 1975. It disappeared into the river due to a lack of riverbank protection, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

At present there is only limited riverbank protection along the Mekong River in Laos as it is prohibitively expensive, so large scale erosion often occurs in the rainy season when the river flows fast, and large sections of riverbank can collapse quite suddenly.

The Mekong River floods perennially during the rainy season around July and August on its way through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and some years it is worse than others.

It sometimes causes serious flooding to areas adjacent to the river, inundating industrial factories, houses, schools, roads and agricultural land located nearby.

In Kaoliew village in Sikhottabong district some people living along the Mekong say that the stretches of riverbank in the village have been disappearing at the rate of a few metres per year every year since 2004.

A few years ago in Vientiane, some of the riverbank eroded right to the edge of roads in Hadxaifong district but now these areas have been repaired and a river bank flood levy constructed.

Residents of villages in these areas were happy that riverbank protection works were being undertaken along this stretch of the river, but many there are still many areas where there is no flood protection at all.

Source: Vientiane Times