Laos warns of possible flooding in Luang Prabang and other northern provinces

Laos warns of possible flooding in Luang Prabang and other northern provinces

Luang Prabang sunset
The sun setting over the mountains surrounding Luang Prabang. (Photo: Melissa Zhu)

VIENTIANE: The Lao government has warned of possible flooding and landslides in parts of the northern and central provinces, as heavy rain is expected. 

Residents have been told to prepare to move to safer areas, said a notice issued on Friday (Jul 27) by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as well as the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. 

Authorities added that the water level at the Nam Ou 2 dam in the northern Luang Prabang province has exceeded the "warning point". It is part of a seven-dam hydropower project developed by China's Sinohydro Corp along the Nam Ou River. 

Google map of Luang Prabang to Sanamxai
Screengrab from Google Maps showing the distance between Luang Prabang and Sanamxai district, one of the hardest-hit district affected by the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapse. 

The heavy rain warning comes in the wake of Monday's dam collapse in southern Laos, which left more than 1,100 people still missing. 

READ: 'It sounded like the sea': Lao villagers recount frightening moment of dam collapse

Makeshift shelters are packed with thousands of people who fled their homes in panic with just a few hours' notice of the impending disaster, now spending their days on plastic mats waiting for news of missing neighbours.

It is the worst disaster to hit Laos's contentious hydropower sector.

READ: Laos damn collapse affects more than 10,000 people: UN report

The collapsed dam was among the structures in the Xe-Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower project, a joint venture between South Korean, Laotian and Thai firms.

Operators said it burst after heavy rains in a country regularly battered by monsoons.

Source: CNA/gs

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