June 29, 2011Xayaboury province has asked the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for 10 tonnes of rice to help families affected by the flooding triggered by tropical storm Haima over the weekend.
Xieng Khuang province has also sent a report to the ministry on the extent of the damage and the hardships that local residents are facing, but did not make any specific requests for assistance.
A report from Borikhan district, Borikhamxay province, included requests for food, clean water and other basic items to reduce the impact of the storm on victims.
The Ministry’s Social Welfare Department Director General Mr Prasit Dethphommathet told Vientiane Times yesterday the ministry was ready to help the three provinces.
The ministry has made available funding of 11 billion kip to buy rice to help victims of natural disasters and 2.5 billion kip has been collected from the public to buy essential items or engage in activities to help communities rebuild.
“Our ministry will send officials to work with the provincial authorities to assess the impact and provide assistance to meet people’s urgent needs,” Mr Prasit said.
Meanwhile, the Lao Red Cross is waiting for information from provincial authorities before providing assistance to families affected by the flooding.
They said they need detailed information about the extent of the problem so they can mobilise funds from donors and the public.
Last year, Lao Red Cross assistance to victims of floods, landslides and fires amounted to about 4 billion kip.
In principle, the provincial authorities are to use their monetary reserves as an emergency flood relief fund and then report the impact to the government and ask for more help if the incident is serious.
This is the worst flash flooding in Laos in recent decades and has claimed s even lives in Xieng Khuang province, two in Xayaboury province, destroyed in-frastructure including roads, bridges, power cables, water supplies, and the farmland and animals of local people – many of whom are poor.
In many areas, roads have become impassable, forcing authorities to use planes to carry relief supplies to stranded communities.
Officials believe about 100,000 people are affected by the flooding.
Natural disasters seem to have become more frequent and severe and some officials said increased deforestation could be the cause of flash floods in Laos in recent year s.
Last year, flooding killed several people in the northern provinces of Laos and caused more than 40 billion kip in damage.
Conversely, farmers in the south suffered from a lack of rain, notably in Champassak, Xekong and Attapeu provinces, which resulted in poor harvests.