Humanitarian assistance vital to sustain flood victims
Thousands of people who have been displaced by widespread flooding caused by the collapse of an auxiliary dam at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower plant have expressed their thanks for all those who have provided assistance in various forms.
The government is also thankful for all the assistance that has poured in from other countries, which have sent relief supplies and offered to help the government to restore the devastated area to normal.
Every form of help is valued, even small donations, because everything can be used to help ease the lives of the thousands of people who are now struggling to survive in very difficult conditions. Just knowing that the world cares about them can provide them with hope and the prospect of sunshine in the coming morning after a dark night.          

A temporary camp set up to house some of the thousands of people made homeless after the recent devastating flood in Attapeu province. --Photos Bounfaeng

Since the day after the inhabitants of 13 villages in Sanamxay district, Attapeu province, were suddenly driven out of their homes by raging floodwaters on the night of July 23, individuals, government bodies, private companies and international organisations in Laos and overseas have organised a massive relief operation and collected donations to provide aid for the flood victims.
To date, a large amount of money and vast quantities of supplies have been donated and sent to the affected area, with donations continuing to pour in from all quarters.
The humanitarian relief supplies, which are being transported by land and air from other countries, include food, medical supplies, and search and rescue equipment. Rescue and medical teams from Thailand, China, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam have joined in the search for missing people alongside local rescue groups. 
Countries and organisations that have donated money and sent emergency supplies to Attapeu include Thailand, China, Singapore, Japan, Australia, the US, France, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management, the European Commission, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Population Fund, and United Nations Children’s Fund. 
But along with the provision of temporary shelters, food and clothing, longer term plans must be made for healthcare, education and housing.
In the wake of the flood, disease prevention is another major issue the authorities must consider and take precautions against, while education is also a prime consideration now that all of the schools in the district have been destroyed. Although children are on holiday at present, a new school year begins at the start of next month.
But above all, plans must be made to build new houses to replace the temporary camps that people are currently sheltering in, with hundreds of families in need of new homes.
One of the big questions that must be considered when mapping out people’s future lives, and one that is being debated by the general public, is whether or not villagers should, or want to, return to the site of their former homes, or relocate to other areas.
One piece of good news is that temporary housing is to be built, with completion slated within two months, before permanent homes and communities can be constructed. Meanwhile, clean food and health services are another major priority.
Some 1,153 families of 6,547 people are now being accommodated in temporary camps, but are full of hope that they will once again have proper homes as they did up until two weeks ago, when their lives were put on hold and all that they possessed disappeared under a violent torrent of water. During that night of terror, the floodwater rose so fast they had to abandon their homes, as most were almost completely submerged.
Help for these destitute people is still needed and those who would like to contribute to the relief effort and make life a little easier for the people of this stricken area may still do so. The crisis is far from over and much more assistance will be needed in the coming weeks and months. Remember, every donation will be gratefully received and put to good use.
The numbers to call are: (020) 2222 8154, 5562 2477, 2223 8555, 5969 5968, 2221 9355, 9954 2869, 5220 2298 and (021) 213005 and 222776 or hotlines 1511 and 1522.

By Sisay Vilaysack
(Latest Update August 04, 2018)

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