Hundreds missing after dam collapse in Laos

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Hundreds of people are missing and many feared dead after a dam collapsed in south-east Laos.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydroelectric dam in Attapeu province was under construction and not yet operational when it collapsed on Tuesday and sent a torrent of water through six nearby villages.

Pictures form the scene show villagers stranded on the roofs of their houses, with boats ferrying people to safety.

More than 6,600 people have had their homes destroyed according to Lao News Agency.

Local authorities have appealed to government agencies and the international community for help in providing food, water, clothing, and medicine for those affected.

The reason for the structural failure of the dam remains unknown, but follows heavy rain and flooding across the region in recent days.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has postponed his planned governmental meetings to monitor the rescue and relief efforts being made for flood victims.

The $1.02bn (£780m) project was being constructed by Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy Power Company (PNPC), a joint-venture formed in March 2012 by South Korean Engineering and Construction (SKE&C), Korea Western Power (KOWEPO), Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH), and Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE). Construction began in 2013 and the 410MW dam had been expected to go online and generate power for local communities later this year.

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