By Phomphong Laoin
Officials and military personnel last week used aircraft and trucks supplied by the Lao People’s Army to deliver emergency supplies including drinking water, food, boats, tents and household essentials to six provinces devastated by floods.
Tropical depression Podul and other weather systems that have passed over southern and central Laos since the end of August unleashed torrential rain, causing widespread flooding in Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Saravan, Champassak and Xekong provinces.
Director General of the Social Welfare Department under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Vilayphong Sysomvang, told Vientiane Times on Friday they were working with the Lao People’s Army to rush emergency supplies to Saravan, Champassak and Savannakhet.
Two aircraft and trucks are delivering 35 rescue boats, 130 tents and over 2,000 packages of supplies.
“We will use helicopters to deliver supplies to people in flooded areas which trucks cannot access because of flooded roads. Many families are staying in temporary accommodation on higher ground in Champassak, Saravan and Xekong provinces,” Mr Vilayphong said.
Last week, vehicles travelling to the south had to stop when they reached Savannakhet because the road was cut off by floodwater, the President of Vientiane’s Southern Bus Association, Mr Khamsaen Thammavong, said.
This week, people wanting to take supplies to flooded areas should check the road conditions with the Southern Bus Association before travelling.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is mobilising funding and essential supplies and is calling on state organisations and private businesses to assist the flood victims. Those who would like to help should call 021 213 005.
Meanwhile, the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of Laos Rescue 1623 is accepting donations of food, drinking water and essential supplies from members of the public for distribution to flood victims in Savannakhet and Saravan provinces.
The Foundation has set up four collection points in Dongdok village, Xaythany district; That Luang stupa; Nonghay village in Sisattanak district; and Nalao village in Sikhottabong district.
Authorities in flooded areas say the most urgent need is for food, including dried and instant goods and rice, as well as drinking water and clean water for daily use, and other essential items.
The floods have resulted in the death of one person in Savannakhet and another in Champassak, while two people are missing in Champassak province, according to the Social Welfare Department.
In Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Saravan, Champassak and Xekong provinces, 54,207 families in 788 villages of 37 districts have been affected. More than 130,500 hectares of rice fields, 251 hectares of vegetable plots and 953 fishponds have been damaged.
In addition, 26 irrigation channels, six bridges, 45 schools, two dispensaries and more than 130km of roads have been affected.
More than 3,400 households and over 130 pets have moved from flooded areas to safe locations, and there is now an urgent need for food, drinking water, medicines, bedding and boats, the Social Welfare Department reported.
Many districts in six provinces are still affected by flooding, especially Khongxedon and Vapy districts in Saravan province. Authorities and members of rescue teams are continuing to move people in at-risk areas to safe locations.
Source: Vientiane Times