Hundreds missing in Laos after dam breaks, flooding nearby towns

Hundreds of people are missing and thousands more have been displaced after a dam collapsed in southern Laos, causing flash flooding across six villages, according to the state news agency.

The Lao News Agency said the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam had collapsed on Monday, causing several deaths and leaving more than 6,000 people homeless.

Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith suspended a planned monthly government meeting to monitor the rescue and relief efforts, the agency said.

The disaster is so far known to have affected at least six villages in the Sanamxay district of Attapeu province. There is no information at present as to just how badly the dam has been damaged or when flooding is expected to recede.

Construction on the dam began in February 2013 and commercial operations were expected to begin in 2018. It was due to cost an estimated $1.02 billion.