Hundreds missing in Laos after hydropower dam collapse
Hundreds of people are missing and an unknown number believed dead after a partly-constructed hydropower dam in southeast Laos collapsed, sending flash floods surging through six villages, state media reported Tuesday.
Communist Laos is traversed by a vast network of rivers and there are several dams being built or are planned in the impoverished and landlocked country, which exports most of its hydropower energy to neighbouring countries like Thailand.
Laos News Agency said the accident happened at a hydropower dam in southeastern Attapeu province’s Sanamxay district late Monday, releasing five billion cubic metres of water — more than two million Olympic swimming pools — which unleashed flash flooding coursing into nearby villages.
The report added that there were “several human lives claimed, and several hundreds of people missing”.
Images published in the report showed scores of people, some clutching young children, crammed onto low-slung wooden boats and wading through muddy waters.