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DISASTER: Laos dam collapse infographic
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Hundreds missing, several feared dead, after Laos dam collapse

07/24/2018
Graphic News

July 24, 2018 -- Hundreds of people are missing and some are feared dead after a hydropower dam under construction collapsed in southern Laos, causing flash flooding which swept away homes.

The official Lao news agency KPL said the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in Attapeu province collapsed Monday evening, releasing cascades of water that swept away houses, flooded villages and made more than 6,600 people homeless.

The dam was made by a joint venture led by South Korean companies with Thai and Lao partners, and was still under construction.

Laos is one of the poorest countries in Asia. Electricity from several hydroelectric dams provides a large share of Laos’ export earnings, with Thailand being a major buyer.

KPL said the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy project cost an estimated $1.02 billion. Much of the financing came from Thai lenders.

The dam was built to divert the Houay Makchanh, Xe-Namnoy and Xe-Pian rivers into reservoirs that feed into a 410-megawatt power plant that is due to begin operations in 2019. Only 10 percent of the power generated was to be used locally, with 90 percent exported to Thailand.

Laos is supposed to receive taxes, royalties and other income estimated at $33 billion per year from the dam.


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