The Attapeu Hydroelectric dam collapse occurred in the night of July 23rd, 2018 in the hydroelectric dam under-construction Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy, Attapeu, in the southeast of Laos. The collapse caused the flash flood that hit the village terribly, leading to village destruction, human loss, and homelessness. As of July 25th, it was confirmed 26 dead people, at least 130 missing people, and nearly 7,000 homeless ones. Experts said that the flood due to Attapeu dam collapse would not influence Mekong Delta much as this area currently had the low water level in this month. Also, the continuous investigation and evaluation of the circumstances will try to lessen the consequences of the unexpectedly released 175 billion cubic feet of water.
In the tourists’ perspectives, it’s known that Attapeu is an off-the-beaten-track destination with the ethnic diversity and untamed nature. The place is quite charming close to the Cambodia – Vietnam border. If you are traveling to Attapeu, it’s important to read on safety tips below.
#1: Know the seasons in Attapeu Laos
Attapeu in Laos has two major seasons. The rainy season occurs from May to October when it often has heavy rain. In connection to the horrific dam failure, investigators said that the flood was as a result of the heavy rain as the rainfall was 3 times heavier than normal. So, if getting there in this season, make sure you bring umbrella and raincoat to avoid being wet. The dry season in Attapeu Laos takes place from November to April when it is hot and dry. Traveling in this period asks tourists to have proper sun protection and water supply.
#2: Understand what to do in a flood
As travel disasters might come unexpectedly like the power dam collapse in Attapeu, tourists need to know some best ways to stay safe if their destination faces the difficulty on the spot.
- Get to the higher ground if you encounter a flood on your travel. The key is to keep yourself away from the strong moving water flow.
- Do not take risks by walking through the flowing water. If you’re not good at swimming, please stay still in the higher position if possible because the flood depth could be quite deceptive and you have no idea about how deep it is. The flood water is not clean, associated with the unknown depth and the water pressure. Therefore, assess the underwater depth and the conditions to decide whether you should swim or dive.
- Keep yourself away from electrical wires and small snakes. You know that electrical current runs through water, so the downed wires are the very hazard. Also, the small creatures like snakes are often flooded out and they could easily come across and attack you, so watch out! There is also a principle “look but do not touch.” As you don’t know how dangerous it is, do not let curiosity harm you and the others.
- Contact travel agents if you use their services for more information about travel insurance policy and coverage regarding flood disaster.
#3: Get information about how to donate to Attapeu flood sufferers
As the Attapeu flood victims are suffered from homelessness and lack of healthcare and food supply, the donation of necessities namely food, clothing, towels, blankets, sanitary items, etc., can really help. All support is being coordinated by the Lao government and military. Due to the flooded bridges to Sanamxai, donations are transferred to the sufferers by boats. To make a donation, here are reliable addresses suggested by The Laotian Times:
- Vientiane Rescue: https://vientianerescue.org
The famous Vientiane Rescue team is giving rescue and food supply to Attapeu flood victims. Visit the website above for donation.
- BCEL One Heart: https://www.bcel.com.la:8083/index.php
The BCEL One e-banking app has the One Heart icon for direct donations to the Attapeu sufferers.
- The European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR (ECCIL): https://eccil.org/
This registered chamber of commerce supports the flood victims via the bank account for donations below:
Bank: Banque Franco-Lao Limited
Account number: 001000085711010028
Account name: European Chamber of Commerce in Lao
SWIFT CODE: BFLLLALA
We hope that Attapeu in Laos will soon be back to normal. We will update the situation in order to assure your next trip to Attapeu to admire the ethnic culture, intact village and natural landscape of lakes and waterfalls as soon as possible.