Five dead after rivers overflow in southern Laos

August 13th, 2011 - 1:56 am ICT by BNO News  

VIENTIANE (BNO NEWS) — Five people have been killed in southern Laos since the Mekong River and its tributaries burst their banks earlier this week, the Vientiane Times reported on Friday.

Three boys were killed in the country’s Champassak province while one man and one boy were swept to their deaths in Savannakhet province. Flooding has also left thousands of residents without clean water and food in both provinces.

“We believe the three boys died trying to help their parents move possessions and livestock to higher ground after flooding swept through their homes,” said Khamtaeng Tiengvoravong, member of the Champassak provincial disaster management committee.

“The boy in Songkhon district died while trying to catch crickets in floodwaters but the reason for the man’s death in Vilabouly district is not yet known,” Savannakhet provincial Administration Office head, Bounyou Thammavong, told the Vientiane Times.

Khamtaeng added that high water levels of the Mekong and Xedon rivers have already flooded more than 20,000 hectares of rice fields and more than 200 hectares of other crops in Champassak. Around 26,480 people from 5,800 families in eight districts have been affected by the loss of crops.

Meanwhile, over 48,000 residents of 206 villages in nine districts of Savannakhet province are experiencing similar issues after Mekong tributaries spilled over during the weekend.

In Thakhek district of Khammuan province, the Mekong water level rose to 13.20 meters (43.30 feet) and is expected to rise to 13.64 meters (44.75 feet) on Friday. Over 60,000 hectares and 300 villages have been hit by flooding in Khammuan, but no deaths have been reported.

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