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Vietnam expresses sympathy with Laos over losses in dam collapse

Top leaders of Vietnam have expressed sympathy with their Lao counterparts over the great losses in humans and property caused by the collapse of Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in the Lao province of Attapeu on July 23.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong and President Tran Dai Quang on July 24 sent messages of sympathy to General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee and President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachit.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc cabled a message of sympathy to his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith, while Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also sent a similar message to Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith.

The same day, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc had a phone call to PM Thongloun Sisoulith, affirming that the Party, State and people of Vietnam are willing to assist the Lao people to overcome the aftermath of the incident.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Vietnamese representatives agencies in Laos to follow the situation and coordinate closely with local relevant agencies to update information about Vietnamese citizens and overseas Vietnamese in the affected area and stand ready to take measures to help those in need.

In case of emergency, it is recommended to contact the hotline for citizen protection in Laos 008562096106775 or in Vietnam 0084981848484.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapsed at 20:00 on July 23, releasing 5 billion cu.m of water which caused flash flooding in 10 villages in lower areas and completely isolated Sanamxay district. Five out of Sanamxay district’s villages, namely May, Hinlath, Nhaythe Sanong Tay, Thasengchan and Thahin, have been absolutely submerged.

The disaster, which was supposed to be triggered by downpours in recent days, has left more than 100 people missing and over 1,300 families with 6,600 people homeless. Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 28 people and are continuing to look for the missing.

Rescue and relief efforts are facing a range of challenges due to difficult traffic conditions. The central committee for rescue and relief is working with Sekong and Attapeu provinces and Division 5 of the Lao army to deploy the rescue and relief campaign for victims.

Attapeu province’s authorities had previously urged the Party, government organizations, business community, officials, police and military forces and people of all strata to provide emergency aid for the victims of the disaster, such as clothing, food items, drinking water, medicines, cash and other relief items.

The 410 MW Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy hydroelectric power project is located in the southern region of Laos and is estimated to have an annual energy generation of approximately 1,860 GWh, according to

PNPC is a joint-venture formed in March 2012 by SK Engineering and Construction (SK E&C), Korea Western Power (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH), and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). SK E&C holds a 24 percent stake in PNPC, LHSE 26 percent, and RATCH and KOWEPO equally own the remaining share in the project.

The project, which is estimated to cost 1.02 billion USD, is the first build-operate-transfer (BOT) project to be undertaken by Korean companies in Laos.

The feasibility study for the hydroelectric project was completed in November 2008. Construction of the project began in February 2013 and commercial operations are expected to begin in 2018.