By Wang Fengjuan, Liao Bowen; Translated by Ge Mengna
On the evening of July 23, 2018, The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam, which has been under construction, suddenly collapsed in southern Laos due to heavy rains and the following rise of reservoir level.The flood caused eight villages submerged and over 6,000 people homeless.
Subsequently, the 5billion cubic meters of floods were vented within a few hours, and poured over the border from Laos. On the 26th of the month, the flood hit Cambodia, and villagers in the northern part of Cambodia were forced to evacuate.
China’s Immediate Action
After the accident, the Lao government organized a professional rescue team to provide emergency assistance. The local and surrounding residents also were actively helping the victims. However, the continuous heavy rain prevented the rescue team from searching for the missing victims, and they also met challenges to hand over emergency supplies to the victims in time.
According to official data released by Laos, 27 people have been confirmed dead, and 131 people are still missing. The county magistrate of Sanansai County said in an interview: “The floods hit 1,300 families in the village, and about 6,000 people were affected. 2,851 people had been rescued until 25th July. The most urgent task now is to find survivors.” In Cambodia, the government dispatched military units to provide disaster relief. The soldiers used wooden boats to transport the trapped people and some of their valuables to the land and distribute the relief supplies to the victims.
Meanwhile, teams from all over the world sought survivors in the affected areas of Laos. Rescuers from China, Vietnam, Thai and South Korea have also arrived in succession to assist, teaming up with local rescue team. Chinese-funded enterprises in Laos responded and acted quickly. They dispatched technical personnel and workers to help Laos to overcome the difficulties.
At a disaster briefing meeting, chief commander Kan Liang Utashan, Deputy Chief of Staff of the General Staff of the Ministry of National Defense of Laos，expressed his gratitude to the rescue team from China and other rescue teams, saying that they are playing a positive role in helping the victims.
Managing Disaster Requires Joint Efforts
In the flood-hit areas, food shortages and delay in materials supply have often become knotty problems. The victims, and even the rescue team have no access to enough food and clean water. In addition, as the roads leading into the area are easy to be blocked by debris flows, the material transportation has also been delayed by flood.
On the afternoon of July 24, on hearing the disaster news, the staff of Laos Nam Ngiep 1 Hydro Project， which was built by China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG)，immediately organized personnel to urgently purchase two vehicles loaded with supplies, including mineral water, bread, ham sausages, biscuits, blankets, towels, as they preparing for the disaster relief.
Laos-China Railway Company also immediately launched an emergency response mechanism and took a series of measures. Through a series of difficulties, the first batch of emergency supplies donated by Chinese-funded enterprises successfully arrived in the Sanansai County.
The Disaster Relief Leading Group of Laos-China Railway Company donated 600 million Kip and 200 million Kip worth of supplies to the affected people through the Lao Ministry of Labor and Welfare for disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction.
Professional Assistance with Wisdom
“Every employee is concerned about the accident in our Chinese-funded enterprises. It’s our duty to help the victims in the affected area. The Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) will do its utmost to rescue the affected people and give full play to their professional advantages to assist the government in solving the problem. The most effective services will be provided to avoid secondary disaster” said Ji Xiaoyong, head of the Power Construction Corporation of China Emergency Rescue Team and general manager of the Asia Pacific Regional Headquarters.
Lao Asia Pacific Satellite Co., Ltd. (LAOSAT), a joint venture company by Laos and China, dispatched an emergency communication technology team with necessary materials to the disaster area. They also donated a batch of satellite TVs for the people in the affected area to follow the latest situation of external rescue and real-time disaster relief. Recently, the technical team also went to the worst-hit area and cooperated with the local area to complete a real-time video transmission through the “Laos No. 1” satellite network.
The Disaster Relief Team of Laos-China Railway also stated that all parties in the construction of the Laos-China railway are willing to use the construction resources to provide assistance to the victims. Together with the Lao government,they will help those affected people resume production and recover their life as soon as possible. The company also said, if the victims are in an emergency, they can contact them directly through the Facebook.
The actions of Chinese-funded enterprises to actively assist in disaster relief reflect the development of China’s overseas business philosophy. They integrate into the local area and pursue shared development. All they have done in this event have showed the corporate high sense of social responsibility.