Hundreds of people are missing and an unknown number feared dead after a hydropower dam under construction in Laos collapsed.
Laos News Agency reports that the accident in the southeastern province of Attapeu has released five billion cubic metres of water, enough to fill more than two million Olympic swimming pools.
Boats have been brought in to help evacuate people as water levels rise, according to ABC Laos news, with reports the flash flooding has left more than 6,000 people homeless in six villages in the southeast Asian country.
A video posted on the network’s Facebook page shows villagers pausing to watch the fast-flowing water from the side of a river bank.
The portion that collapsed on Monday is reported to be a “saddle dam”, an auxiliary structure used to hold water beyond what is held by the main dam.
A spokesman for the one of the company’s involved in the project said heavy rain and flooding caused the collapse and it was co-operating with the government to rescue villagers.
“We do not have any formal information yet about any casualties or how many are missing,” an Attapeu official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity, adding there was “no phone signal” in the region.
“We sent rescue teams who will help them and provide basic assistance first,” they added.
The $1.2bn (£915m) dam is part of a project by Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy Power Company, a joint venture which is also known as PNPC.
A number of companies are involved, including Thailand’s Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, South Korea’s Korea Western Power and the state-run Lao Holding State Enterprise.
The 410 megawatt capacity dam, close to Laos’ border with Cambodia, was meant to begin commercial operations by 2019.
It was to form part of a series of dams over the Houay Makchanh, the Xe-Namnoy and the Xe-Pian rivers in neighbouring Champasack province.
The plan was to export 90% of the electricity generated to Thailand, with the rest offered up on the local grid.
Environmental groups have long voiced fears about impoverished and landlocked Laos’ hydropower ambitions, with around 10 dams in operation, another 10 to 20 under construction and dozens more in the planning stages.
In particular, concerns have been raised about the impact on the Mekong River, its flora and fauna and the communities that depend on it for their livelihoods.
As well as disquiet within Laos, several neighbouring nations are worried Laos’ ambition to become the “battery of southeast Asia” will disrupt vital ecosystems and their own river systems.
- Floods, landslides in northern Vietnam kill 15, leave 11 missing
- Sudan: Hundreds of Families Flee Jebel Marra to South Darfur Camp
- Europe's last wild rivers at risk from 'tsunami' of 3,000 hydropower dams, say campaigners
- Watch: Burning skyscraper collapses in Brazil, in scenes reminiscent of 9/11
- Burning tower block collapses as terrified residents scream for help
- The Walking Dead season 8 episode 16: Fans think finale set up The Whisperers as season 9 villains
- Man reunited with daughter 24 years after she went missing in China
- A massive fire swept through a Sao Paulo high rise, leading to the building’s collapse
- Family pet blends into carpet leaving owners baffled…but can you see him?
- Source confirms missing tycoon is in mainland China, not ‘receiving treatment overseas’
- East Africa: Fresh Spat Leaves Trading in EA Hanging in the Balance
- British business marches cheerfully into the unknown
- Nigeria: Many Feared Killed As Armed Men Attack Zamfara Communities
- Uganda: Two Suspected Terrorists Shot Dead in Kampala
- Nigeria: Eight Feared Killed As Bandits Attack Birnin Gwari, Kaduna
- Gaza: 15 year-old boy among four dead as Israeli soldiers fire on Palestinian protesters at border
- 17-year-old deaf and blind dog leads rescuers to missing girl in Queensland
- Four Year on : We are free, in school; our friends are Boko Haram slaves — Ntakai, Chibok girl number 169
- Kenya: One Dead As Hundreds Are Displaced By Floods in Mandera
- Kenya: Family Claims Huruma Hospital Swapped Their Newborn With Dead Child
Dam collapse in Laos leaves hundreds missing and unknown number feared dead have 642 words, post on news.sky.com at July 24, 2018. This is cached page on Game Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.