Following reports that dozens of people are dead or missing following the collapse of a dam that was under construction in Laos, the United Nations chief on Tuesday said that the world body stands ready to support the rescue and relief efforts, if authorities request it.
According to news reports, the collapse of the dam created flash flooding conditions that swept through Attapeu province in south-eastern Laos, submerging villages and leaving more than 6,000 homeless.
“The Secretary-General is saddened by the loss of life and significant damage caused by a break in the hydroelectric dam under construction…adding to the previous destruction caused by Tropical Storm Son,” said his Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement.
At least 20 people are believed to have died and many more who are missing are feared dead. It was reported that continuous rainstorms had caused a high volume of water to flow into the project’s reservoir, putting pressure on the dam.
The Secretary-General extended his condolences to the victims’ families and to the Government and people of the Southeast Asian country, while also expressing the UN’s readiness to support the national rescue and relief efforts if required, Mr. Dujarric said.