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Faster dispatch of donated supplies necessary: DPM

Officials are trying to sort through the vast pile of clothing and other items that have been donated for flood victims in Attapeu province, as more and more pour in to a central warehouse in Vientiane.
The work is being supervised by Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, who heads the National Ad Hoc Committee that has been set up to cope with the aftermath of the devastating flood.
The task now is to sort through the donated goods and arrange for their dispatch to flood victims in a more efficient manner, following complaints by the public that this was not happening soon enough.
Dr Sonexay yesterday advised officials involved in processing the donated items about ways to speed up their work when he visited the warehouse.

Sometimes, he said, the dispatch of clothing and other much-needed items was slow because of poor management. 
One of the government’s concerns is that some donated food items may have passed their use-by date by the time they reach those in need in Attapeu.
The committee is working with the Ministry of Health to check donated food to make sure it is not out of date, Mr Sonexay said.
“We do not know how many of the items might have passed the sell-by date because of the vast amount we have received. But without inspection by health officials we could run the risk of harming the recipients of the food we send,” he added.
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Mrs Baykham Khattiya, said they would hold a meeting to discuss ways in which the operation of the warehouse could be improved so that donated goods can reach the flood victims more quickly, in line with the advice given by Dr Sonexay.
But the ministry was not responsible for running the warehouse, she pointed out, and said they had called for more volunteers to help sort the clothing.
There are still insufficient volunteers to help with this work, she said.
The ministry is sending relief supplies to Attapeu province at the rate of about two or three flights a day.
In addition, companies and individuals are transporting supplies by road to warehouses in Attapeu and Champassak provinces, for distribution to those made homeless by the floods.
Head of Office at the Ministry of Health, Dr Nao Boutta, said their staff had not found any expired food items but they could not be sure that all the food was safe because goods had not undergone official inspections.
He said the ministry would continue to work with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare on the inspection issue.
From August 4 to 10, more than 17 billion kip, 27 million baht and US$12 million was donated to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for the flood relief effort.
Many countries and organisations have offered support and assistance to Laos in coping with the aftermath of the disaster.
Along with aid relief in cash and in kind, many of the country’s partners have sent teams to help with search and rescue operations.


By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update
August 11,

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