Last week in Laos, the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapsed causing unprecedented flooding in 13 neighboring communities, affecting as many as 16,000 people. The Lao Red Cross immediately deployed trained rescue personnel to help evacuate survivors, some of whom were awaiting help on their rooftops. Today, Red Cross teams are still working around the clock to provide relief and comfort to affected communities.
More than 6,000 people are staying in community shelters in Laos after fleeing their homes.
At this phase in the response, the Lao Red Cross is continuing to focus on urgent needs. “They are ready to respond to this challenging operation” said Marwan Jilani, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC)’s office in Bangkok. Local teams are mobilizing food and non-food relief items including blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, and shelter supplies. The Red Cross is also ensuring families have access to safe drinking water by mobilizing water purification units.
Communities will need longer-term support to recover from the far-reaching impacts of this disaster. Accessibility is limited due to severe infrastructure damage, including to roads and bridges. Agricultural lands have been destroyed, raising concerns over food security and livelihoods—with three-quarters of all workers employed in farming. Especially in rural areas, people depend on agriculture and livestock to feed and provide for their families. The standing water has also increased the risk of waterborne and mosquito-borne diseases.
Downstream effects in Cambodia
Just across the border with Laos, Steung Treng Province of Cambodia is severely impacted by the floods as well. Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes. Water levels reached as high as 36 feet during the flash flood. The Cambodian Red Cross is distributing rice and other food items, in addition to water filters.
More help is on the way
The American Red Cross is contributing $100,000 to support the Lao Red Cross as it continues providing aid to those most affected. In Laos and Cambodia, relief efforts will continue in close coordination with local officials. The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network is doing everything possible to reach those impacted with relief and comfort.
Media Inquiries Only:
In Washington DC: American Red Cross, media[at]redcross.org
In Bangkok: Tiamkare Thitithamtada, +66 81 422 4248, Tiamkare.THITITHAMTADA[at]ifrc.org
Lao Red Cross webpage