[Laos], July 24 (ANI): Scores of people are feared dead and hundreds missing after a dam in Laos' south-eastern province of Attapeu collapsed, releasing billions of cubic meters of water into the region.
According to South China Morning Post, who cited a report from Laos News Agency, a hydropower dam in Attapeu's Sanamxay district collapsed which led to the release of five billion cubic feet of water. As a result many villages got submerged. Scores are feared dead and many missing. It reported there were "several human lives claimed, and several hundreds of people missing".
A video uploaded by state-run ABC Laos News shows entire villages submerged following the accident.
With a vast network of rivers in the nation, several hydroelectric dams are built across Laos, which mostly exports the energy it generates from these dams to neighbouring countries.
The dam is a project of the Vientiane based joint venture, the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy Power Company (PNPC) costing around USD 1.2 billion. The joint venture was between Thailand's Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, South Korea's Korea Western Power and the state-run Lao Holding State Enterprise.
The dam, which had a capacity of 410 megawatts, was slated to start commercial operations by 2019, upon which PNPC would oversee its operations for 27 years.
The project included a series of dams on the Houay Makchanh, the Xe-Namnoy and the Xe-Pian rivers. 90 per cent of the energy output was slated to be exported to Thailand, with the rest of it to be consumed locally.
Hydropower projects in Laos have long drawn controversy as despite the country's plans to become the "battery of Southeast Asia", the ecological costs and displacement of local people have been huge. (ANI)