Laos assisting, closely following plight of flood victims

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, leaders of committees and provincial authorities last week visited people in provinces that have been affected by the recent widespread flooding.

During the visit to the provinces of Savannakhet, Champassak and Saravan on September 7, Prime Minister Thongloun on behalf the government presented 1.2 billion kip to authorities to aid flood victims. He directed local authorities to focus on moving local residents, animals and essential items in flood-hit areas to safe places.

The Prime Minister also directed local authorities to take care of the health and hygiene of residents and said they should be provided with adequate infrastructure in terms of toilets, health equipment and medicines.

He directed authorities to deploy nurses and to provide adequate food and drinking water to the flood victims. They should also monitor the price of goods and prevent any thefts, he suggested.

The Secretariat of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee announced the number of deaths and others affected during a news conference held in Vientiane on Sunday.

Acting Director General of the Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Vilayphong Sisomvang, told Vientiane Times at the press conference on Sunday, that when the tropical depression Podul passed over southern and central Laos recently, it resulted in the deaths of two people in Savannakhet province, three in Saravan, five in Champassak, and four in Attapeu.

More than 175,000 households in 1,466 villages of 43 districts in the six provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan, Champassak, Xekong and Attapeu were affected, and more than 14,000 households were moved to safe places, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare reporting yesterday.

Floodwaters submerged more than 151,000 hectares of farmland, 251 hectares of vegetable plots, and 3,266 fish ponds.

About 330 animals were moved to safe places, while 43 reservoirs, 12 bridges, 313 schools, 15 hospitals and dispensaries, more than 252 km of roads were affected by the floods. The flood victims are in immediate need of food, drinking water, kitchen equipment, bedding, and boats with boatmen, Mr Vilayphong said.

Authorities are still unable to reach some flood-affected places because road links were cut, and officials have used helicopters to help people at such locations.

The Foundation for Assisting Poor People of Laos Rescue 1623 is accepting donations of food, drinking water and essential supplies from the public for distribution to flood victims. Anyone wishing to donate can do so through the Foundation, which has set up four collection points in Dongdok village of Xaythany district, That Luang stupa, Nonghay village of Sisattanak district, and Nalao village of Sikhottabong district.

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