Laos dam collapse: 25,000 Cambodians evacuated

Cambodia's government has issued evacuation orders to 25,000 people living in areas flooded after a dam collapsed in Laos this week. Photo courtesy Cambodia's Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology

July 26 (UPI) — Officials issued evacuation orders to an estimated 25,000 people in northern Cambodia on Thursday as a collapsed dam in nearby Laos flooded the area.

Stung Treng provincial authorities are working through the day and night to evacuate about 25,000 residents as flood waters run through Siem Pang, Sekong River, raising water levels up to 39 feet, Cambodia’s state news agency reported. The flood has inundated 17 villages of four communes in the district, the state news agency reported.

Provincial Governor H.E. Mom Saroeun said about half of Siem Pang’s affected population was brought to safety as of Wednesday.

Water Resources Ministry spokesman Chan Yutha said water levels are continuing to rise as about 200 soldiers and police work to evacuate the area.

“We are concerned about the unpredictable water level rise,” Yutha told Al Jazeera.

The Laos dam collapsed Monday while under construction and released 5 billion cubic meters of water in the southern Attapeu province, sweeping away several houses in the southern Sanamxay district, the state-run Lao News Agency reported.

At least 27 people are dead, the Laos government said.

Laos Prime Minister Thongloun said at a news conference that all people trapped on trees and rooftops have been rescued, but authorities are still searching for 131 missing people.

The disaster has left more than 3,000 people homeless.


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