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Hundreds missing after dam collapses in Laos

Thousands of people have been left homeless.

A number of people are dead and hundreds are missing after a hydroelectric dam collapsed in south-eastern Laos, state media reported.

The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in Attapeu province collapsed on Monday evening, releasing large amounts of water and sweeping away houses, according to official news agency KPL.

It said more than 6,600 people have been left homeless.

The dam was constructed by a joint venture led by South Korean companies, with Thai and Lao partners.

It was scheduled to open this year, but it was unclear if it had begun operating.

The portion that collapsed has been described as a “saddle dam”, which is an auxiliary dam used to hold water beyond what is held by the main dam.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith “suspended the planned monthly meeting of the government for August and led his Cabinet members and other senior officials to Sanamxay (district) to monitor rescue and relief efforts being made for flood victims,” KPL said.

Many areas of Laos have been hit recently by flooding from seasonal rains.

Electricity from several hydroelectric dams provides a large share of Laos’ export earnings, with Thailand being a major buyer.

KPL said the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy project cost an estimated 1.02 billion dollars (£777 million).

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