A damn in the Attapeu district of the Southeast Asian country of Laos collapsed on Monday, quickly flooding several nearby villages. It has left close to 6,000 people homeless.
State news agency reported that the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapsed around 8:00 PM on Monday night, submerging six villages in the vicinity.
As per officials, the hydroelectric dam, which was being used to generate electricity collapsed in part due to the heavy rainfall, which led to the release of five billion cubic metres of water from the damaged section.
It is unclear how many have been killed in the flash floods, with hundreds still reported missing. Local authorities began evacuating people within hours of the collapse. The government has also appealed to citizens to step forward and aid the displaced people by donating food, clothes, medicines and drinking water.
Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has suspended a planned government meeting in order to take stock of the situation and monitor the relief efforts.
International Federation of the Red Cross Asia-Pacific (IFRC), along with the Laos National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee is currently meeting to discuss the disaster. The IFRC is also planning to release emergency relief funds for the victims within 24 hours, but it did not state how much it was providing. The IFRC has already sent close to 1,000 relief kits and is helping in the search and rescue operations.
The under-construction dam was expected to become operational in late 2018. The project, which began in 2013 has cost the Laos government around $1.02 billion. It is being built by the South Korean construction company SK Construction Co., which has also sent a rescue crew along with a helicopter and boats to the affected area.