What role has your organisation played in the flood relief effort in Attapeu?

Over the past month since the collapse of a dam in Attapeu province, people who lost their homes in the resulting flood have been living in temporary shelters. In these crowded conditions it is essential to ensure that everyone stays healthy, and specialist health agencies have been taking steps to prevent disease. Vientiane Times talked to some of the parties involved about what they have done and what they plan to do in the future.

Director of Attapeu provincial Health Department, Dr Khamphiew Phothilath: I would like to thank everyone in Laos and other countries who donated food, drinks, clothing, cash and other essentials, which families here are in urgent need of. In terms of health, our department assigned doctors and nurses to work with displaced families beginning on July 24 to ensure everyone has access to healthcare.
I would also like to thank the medical teams who came here from China, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam for all their help. During the first week after the flood hit, there were almost 200 doctors and nurses from Laos and other countries working together to help people in need. Today, there are about 90 medical staff from Attapeu and nearby provinces providing healthcare. In addition, our department is overseeing the work of donor organisations to make sure there is no duplication. 

Doctors and nurses discuss ways to provide good healthcare in Sanamxay district Hospital, Attapeu province.

WHO Health Emergencies Programme Country Team Leader, Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka: After the flood hit Sanamxay district on July 23, WHO staff arrived here on July 26 to evaluate the need for assistance. Then we helped to map out a plan to coordinate the efforts of individuals and organisations who were offering assistance. In addition, WHO helped to set up a surveillance system, provided training in the area of mental health, ensure vector control and prevention of disease outbreaks, and helped with water quality control.
In the future, WHO will work with development partners to continue to help the province fulfil its requirements on the way to helping displaced people return to their normal lives. WHO will ensure camp activities cover mental health; oversee water quality; act as a coordinator with other donors who want to help displaced families; and monitor communicable disease outbreak and response control.

Deputy Director of Attapeu provincial Health Department, Dr Inpanh Inthilath: Today we are stepping into the second phase of assistance for flood victims. During this phase, we are gearing up to control communicable diseases in the temporary shelters, where people are living in crowded conditions. We will focus on water quality control and good sanitation. This includes garbage management and waste water management in the shelters.

Head of the Disaster Management Department, Lao Red Cross, Dr Kaviphone Southy: Lao Red Cross staff arrived in Sanamxay district on July 25. So far, we have helped more than 1,000 families of 4,689 people. The Lao Red Cross helps to deliver supplies donated by the Red Cross in Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to flood-hit families. The supplies consist of clothing, rice, drinks and medicine. There are also filters that can produce 700 litres of clean water every hour. In addition, the Red Cross has trained 50 volunteers to teach people living in the shelters about good hygiene and daily garbage management. The Red Cross also plans to help people in the Tamoryoth zone by providing 1,500 sets of household items. This will help people in the village to get their lives back to normal. The Lao Red Cross in collaboration with the International Red Cross is embarking on an 18-month project to rehabilitate Sanamxay district. We also want to build two temporary warehouses in which to store relief supplies before distributing them to flood-affected villages and affected villages nearby. The warehouses will be 10 metres wide and 14 metres long.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update September 10, 2018)

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