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Provinces suffering after torrential rain causes widespread flooding

Many provinces in central and southern Laos are struggling to cope with floods after days of heavy rain unleashed by a tropical depression, with Saravan province being the hardest hit.
Champassak, Saravan, Xekong, Savannakhet, Khammuan and Attapeu provinces have all suffered varying degrees of flooding, and thousands of people are now in need of food and drinking water, while some provinces need boats.

Provincials authorities are providing what help they can, but their efforts are insufficient to meet people’s needs.
Director General of the Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Vilaphong Sisomvang, told Vientiane Times that authorities are preparing food and drinking water to donate to flood victims.
They are also trying to arrange for boats to be provided for Saravan province, where in some places this is the only viable form of transport.
Authorities plan to mobilise funding from the general public to help flood-affected people. Anyone who can offer help is asked to contact the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
Hundreds of villages have been flooded and a large number of farms are under water.
The Nam Xedon river in Saravan province has now risen to over 13 metres, which is above the danger level. Authorities are unable to provide figures for the levels of other rivers, according to provincial media.
Saravan has borne the brunt of a tropical depression that has been passing over Laos since September 1, bringing the heaviest rainfall in a decade.
Three districts are severely affected. In Saravan district 75 villages are flooded, Khongxedon district has 63 flooded villages, and Vapy district has 45 flooded villages. Toumlan district has fared better and only three villages are affected.
Provincial authorities have moved local residents to safe places and some are staying with relatives, while important equipment and vehicles have been moved to dry ground. Saravan now urgently needs boats as well as food supplies and drinking water.
In Xekong province, authorities have closed schools from September 3-6 because of the bad weather.
The level of the Xekong River is falling but it is still raining, Head of the province’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, Mr Bounlay Soudthi, said.
In Attapeu province the river level is still rising although the rain is easing, according to local media.
The Meteorological Department of Thailand on Wednesday issued a weather alert for heavy rain in many provinces due to tropical storm Kajiki, according to a report on nationthailand.com on September 4.
In Vietnam, local authorities are also keeping a close eye on the weather and preparing for the worst as two tropical depressions are heading towards the country, according to vietnamnews.vn
Laos’ Meteorology and Hydrology Department says no storms are forecast here in the next few days but there will be rain in some parts of the country.

By Siladda Souliyong
(Latest Update September 5, 2019)

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