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New homes for victims of floods in south of Laos

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Houses being built for survivors of the 2018 Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam disaster are shown in a photo taken in early 2020. VIENTIANE TIMES

New homes for victims of floods in south of Laos

Lao contractors are working to complete about 200 new houses before Lao New Year next month so that some of the people who lost their homes during the devastating flood that hit Attapeu province in July 2018 can finally start to rebuild their lives.

A provincial official, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times that 700 new houses would be built by the end of this year.

The 700 houses are being built by the developers of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower plant, which was the source of the flood after a dam collapsed.

The houses are currently under construction in Dongbakmai, Hinlath, Donebokmaisaengchanh and Samongmaipindong villages.

The official said: “Families who lost their homes during the flood are now preparing to move into specially built houses.”

The UN is financing the construction of an additional 66 houses and Thailand is funding 35 others.

Some families have already moved in after spending months in temporary accommodation.

The original plan was for about 500 houses to be completed by next month but the situation changed when some people said they wanted to choose a good day for the start of construction of their new house. Others wanted to move in during another month, not April.

All of the families are currently living in temporary housing but it is planned that 200 will be in their new homes by Lao New Year, giving them good reason to celebrate.

Following the collapse of the dam at the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower plant on July 23, 2018, homeless families were initially accommodated in tents and shelters before moving into temporary housing in Sanamxay district.

In cooperation with the hydropower plant developers, displaced people were moved to temporary housing in five villages.

When the dam collapsed, the resulting flood killed over 40 people and many more went missing while thousands of others were made homeless.

Several villages were wiped out by the flood.

The dam has now been rebuilt in a different location and is more structurally sound. It was built under the guidance of specialist engineers from international energy companies.

All hydropower projects are currently under scrutiny by the government, with officials ordered to inspect all dams under construction and ensure their safety.

Attapeu province is in the far south of Laos and shares borders with Vietnam and Cambodia.

The province borders Cambodia along Stung Treng province’s Siem Pang district and Ratanakkiri province’s Taveng and Veun Sai districts, while Sanamxay district borders Siem Pang’s Santepheap, which is the northernmost commune in Stung Treng.

VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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