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Fire at Km 32 garbage dump under control

Vientiane authorities said yesterday that a fire that broke out at the city’s landfill site at km 32 was now under control but admitted it would take some time for the toxic haze lingering around the site to disperse.  
The biggest fire to occur since the landfill site was created by the Japanese a decade ago broke out last Sunday. The haze from this fire has spread for more than 20 kilometres, affecting the health of local residents.
Vientiane authorities ordered some schools to close and residents were advised to stay indoors to avoid inhaling the smoke. So far, no serious illness has been officially reported as a result of smoke inhalation.
But people living in the area have urged authorities to put out the fire completely, saying they will not be able to earn a living and run their businesses as usual.

“Two days ago, winds carried thick haze to our village and I got a headache after inhaling the smoke,” a resident of Naphasouk village, Ms Bualin Santisouk, told Vientiane Times yesterday, adding that her neighbours had experienced the same problem.
Director of the Vientiane Office for Management and Service, Ms Vilayvone Chanthalaty, said yesterday that flames from the fire had been brought under control but the smoke was still spreading and posing a threat to the health of people in nearby villages.
 She said Vientiane authorities were aware of the situation and were doing their best to restore things to normal.
“The mayor has given us a seven-day deadline to put the fire out completely,” Ms Vilayvone told Vientiane Times reporters who visited to the site to monitor progress.
Ms Vilayvone said the taskforce that had been put in charge of controlling the fire had asked for support from both the public and private sectors so that it could achieve its mission within the set deadline.
“What we need are more excavators,” she said, adding that they could be used to dig up earth to cover the rubbish that was still smouldering. “At present, only 30 percent of the eight hectares of the landfill site have actually been filled.”
She said that if the taskforce had more excavators, their work would proceed more quickly.
Ms Vilayvone said this was not the first time a fire had occurred at the landfill site. Fires broke out there almost every year, but fortunately the management was usually able to prevent fires getting out of control.
She said that on this occasion a strong wind had caused the flames to spread, while a water truck that was on standby that day was not working. This made it impossible for staff to prevent the fire taking hold and burning more fiercely.


By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 9,

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