Laos : hundreds of dead and missing after the collapse of a dam

Hundreds of people were missing Tuesday in Laos in the aftermath of the collapse of a hydroelectric dam under construction in this small country in South-East Asia, announced the official agency of laos. The dam, located in the province of Attapeu (south-east), not far from the vietnamese border, collapsed on Monday evening, releasing five billion cubic meters of water and making “several dead and hundreds missing, said the official agency of the communist regime. “Several houses have also been destroyed,” in the disaster, according to the agency.

Dozens of dams are currently under construction in Laos, which exports the bulk of its hydropower to neighboring countries, especially in Thailand. For several years, environmental organizations have expressed their concerns about the ambitions of hydropower in Laos, in particular the impact of dams on the Mekong river, its flora and fauna, rural populations and local economies that depend on them.

A project of $ 1 billion

The dam of the province of Attapeu, a project of more than a billion dollars, is under construction since 2013. It is developed by Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy Power Company (PNPC), a joint venture formed by the thai company Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, the Korean company Korea Western Power and the public company lao Lao Holding State Enterprise.

A power of 410 megawatts, it would begin to supply electricity from 2019, according to the website of PNPC. And 90% of the energy produced would be exported to Thailand, the rest being distributed locally.

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