Volunteers from Thailand and Lao authorities have rescued 13 people trapped after a dam collapse unleashed floodwater into areas near the construction site.
Team members of the Hook 31 foundation said on Friday that seven adults, six children and a dog were found during a joint operation with Lao authorities and other Thai counterparts on Thursday. They had been huddled on high ground at Ban Xai Don Khong in Sanamxay district of Attapeu province.
All were evacuated to shelters by flatboats used to navigate the mud that had inundated the village.
Hook 31 specialises in rescue diving. The team joined the international operation to help 12 young footballers and their coach at Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai earlier this month.
Searches for other missing people were continuing throughout the 13 villages in the district that were submerged following the collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam on Tuesday.
Attapeu governor Bounhome Phommasane told the Vientiane Times on Thursday that 127 people had still not been found and more than 10,000 people were taking shelter in Attapeu and neighbouring Champassak province.
“The numbers of affected villages is likely to increase as the floodwaters flow farther downstream,” the governor said.
Joint operations of Thai and Lao rescuers on Thursday. (Video from Hook31.Korat Facebook account)
The burst, which took at least 27 lives with another 131 missing, also spilled water into downstream Cambodia and forced Cambodians in Stung Streng province bordering southern Laos to evacuate.
The Thai Royal Air Force on Friday despatched two plane-loads of more relief supplies, including necessities from His Majesty the King, royal family members and the Thai Red Cross Society, to Pakse airport in Champassak. The items will be transported to affected areas in Attapeu and the areas in Champassak where shelter centres have been set up.
The Lao government has set up a committee to look into the case of the dam collapse, according to the Vientiane Times.
Relief aid is flowing into Laos. In addition to Thai rescue workers, who were first on the scene in the Sanamxay district of Attapeu Province, China, South Korea and Vietnam are sending disaster relief teams.
A Singapore Air Force C-130 transport plane loaded with tents, meal rations, bottled water, medical supplies and rubber dinghies with outboard motors arrived in Laos on Thursday, while a second was scheduled to arrive on Friday.
Japan announced it is providing emergency assistance such as blankets and tents at the Lao government's request.
At a press conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith expressed gratitude for the assistance from foreign countries and international organisations. "Such provision of relief aid and promises have encouraged the affected people to restore the situation back to normalcy," he said.
Parents carry their children as they leave their home during the flood after the Xepian-Xe Namnoy dam collapsed in Attapeu province on Thursday. (Reuters photo)