The Latest: Red Cross says 24 dead in Laos dam collapse
BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on the collapse of a dam that flooded villages in southeastern Laos (all times local):
A Red Cross official says 24 bodies have been recovered in southern Laos after heavy rains caused water to breach a dam at a major hydroelectric project due to open next year.
Bounyong Phommachak said Wednesday that 96 people are officially listed as missing from the accident Monday night. He said by phone that that about 6,600 people have been displaced from their homes.
The state news agency in Laos says officials in the southeastern province where a dam collapsed have confirmed 19 dead so far from flooding.
The KPL news agency said Wednesday on its website that officials in Attapeu province also reported more than 1,300 houses damaged by flooding after an auxiliary dam at the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower project partially collapsed on Monday night. It reported that 5 billion cubic meters of water was released due to the breach.
The presidential office in South Korea says the government plans to send an emergency relief team to Laos to help victims affected by the collapse of a dam that is part of a hydroelectric project built by a South Korean company.
Kim Eui-keum, a spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said Wednesday that Moon had ordered help for the rescue efforts as the search was underway an unknown number of people left missing when floodwaters swept through several villages.
Builder SK Engineering & Construction is one of two South Korean companies involved in the joint venture responsible for the project, which was due to begin operations in 2019.
Rescuers are searching for hundreds missing in villages flooded when part of a newly built hydroelectric dam was breached in southeastern Laos.
SK Engineering & Construction, one of two South Korean partners in the project, said in a statement late Tuesday that the top of one of five auxiliary earth-fill dams at the project had collapsed Sunday night after heavy rains.
The cascade from the collapse swept away houses, flooded villages and left more than 6,600 people homeless. The official Lao news agency KPL said the disaster “left hundreds of people missing,” without providing details.
The website of the state-run Vientiane Times newspaper said Wednesday that two people were confirmed dead as of Tuesday afternoon. The government declared the area a disaster zone.