Hundreds missing after dam collapses in Laos

Hundreds missing in Laos after dam breaks flooding nearby towns

The hydroelectric project at Xayaburi, led by Thai group CH Karnchang, with a 1,285-megawatt dam - which will cost $3.5 billion according to state media - is at the heart of Laos' plan to become "the battery of Southeast Asia".

The agency said there were "several human lives claimed, and several hundreds of people missing" while some 6,600 people had been made homeless as authorities scrambled to evacuate villagers from the devastation.

Over 6,600 have been left homeless when the failure released large amounts of water, sweeping away houses.

A dam that collapsed in southern Laos has flooded villages and forced thousands of people to flee, state media report.

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Officials have brought boats to help evacuate people in San Sai district of Attapeu province in the southeast of the country as water levels rise after the dam collapsed, ABC Laos news reported.

This particular $1.2 billion dam is part of a project by Vientiane-based Xe Pian Xe Namnoy Power Company, a joint venture formed in 2012. The project is a 27-year concession and was due to begin operating in 2019, a year later than originally planned. KPL described the portion that reportedly collapsed as a "saddle dam", which is an auxiliary dam used to hold water beyond what is held by the main dam.

Yonhap said SK E&C was still trying to find out whether water had overflowed the dam or if the dam had collapsed.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has postponed government meetings and gone to the affected area in Sanamxay district with senior officials to monitor relief efforts, state media said.

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Lao experienced one of its worst natural disasters in 2013 when five major monsoon storms hit in a period of three months, according to the ReliefWeb humanitarian information portal.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy dam project in southeastern Laos has collapsed, displacing hundreds of people in the region. Ltd. of Thailand holds a 25 percent stake and the Lao Holding State Enterprise holds 24 percent. The Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Co.

The Xe-Namnoy River was diverted in April of 2015 as part of the hydroelectric project.

The country has around 10 dams in operation, 10 to 20 under construction, and dozens more in planning stages.

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