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Hundreds dead, thousands displaced – Laos dam bust.

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Hundreds dead, thousands displaced – Laos dam bust. | The Thaiger

(5 minute read)

The heavy rains in northern, north-eastern Thailand and southern Laos have caused a partially man-made disaster affecting hundreds of Loas homes with hundreds of people still missing.

Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes in Laos’ southern Attapeu province following the collapse of part of a hydroelectric dam under construction.

The disaster came hours after an official of the construction firm warned of imminent danger.

One of five saddle dams supporting the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy Dam collapsed at 8pm on Monday, releasing 5 billion cubic metres of water. Houses in Attapeu’s southern Sanamxay district were swept away, claiming lives, and several hundred people were missing, according to the state-run Lao News Agency.

Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith suspended his monthly cabinet meeting and led senior government officials to Sanamxay to monitor rescue and relief efforts.

The collapse of the support dam caused flash flooding in six Sanamxay villages – Yai Thae, Hinlad, Mai, Thasengchan, Tha Hin and Samong. Hinlad and Mai were particularly hard hit. Pictures and videos shown on state-run and social media showed the chaotic evacuation of people from inundated areas. Many people were seen clinging to the roofs of their houses, surrounded by water.

Hundreds dead, thousands displaced - Laos dam bust. | News by The Thaiger

There are claims on social media of many people dead and missing but no official reports at this stage.
Authorities in Attapeu are pleading for agencies to provide emergency aid for the victims, including clothing, food, drinking water and medicine. Attapeu Planning and Investment Department Director Soulichanh Phonkeo told the Vientiane Times newspaper that some victims were washed away in the torrent, but many managed to grab tree branches and wait for rescue.

“We need a large number of boats to rescue them from the danger area,” he said.

An official of Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Co (PNPC) had on Monday issued a warning of danger at the dam. In a letter, the company’s head of resettlement, Lee Kan Yeol, told colleagues in Champasak and Attapeu provinces that, “Saddle Dam D is not safe and is in very dangerous condition” due to heavy rainfall. He advised that the saddle dam’s failure would unleash five billion tonnes of water into the Xe Pian River basin. Lee said people living along the river downstream should be moved to higher ground to avoid an “unfortunate accident” if the heavy rain caused one.

Pianporn Deetes of the conservation group International Rivers said there were major risks with dams that are not designed to cope with extreme weather conditions such as very heavy rain. And unpredictable extreme weather events are becoming more frequent in the region due to climate change, she said.

“This disaster also shows the inadequacy of warning systems for the dam construction and operations. The warning appears to have to come very late and was ineffective in giving people advance notice to ensure their families’ safety,”” said Pianporn.

Hundreds dead, thousands displaced - Laos dam bust. | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation 



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Southeast Asia

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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North East

Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew

The Thaiger

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Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew | The Thaiger

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is leading a delegation to officiate at the opening of a new rail service between Thailand and Cambodia at Klong Luek railway station in Sa Kaew province. The Thai government funded the maintenance and restoration of the two kilometre rail track between Klong Luek station and Poipet station in Cambodia.

Rail services between Thailand and Cambodia were suspended for decades due to strained relationships between the two countries since the Cold War era. Although the relationship is much better these days there was little interest in the restoration of the rail link as people in both countries tended to prefer travel by road.

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Southeast Asia

Sea turtle returns to its nesting place – it’s now an airport!

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Sea turtle returns to its nesting place – it’s now an airport! | The Thaiger

by Philippine Daily Inquirer – Asia News Network

Without a choice, with nature instructing her to lay the eggs on the same spot she’d emerged as a baby turtle, the poor reptile made the runway its nest on Maafaru island.

“Despite the unfortunate circumstances that befell the turtle mother, she is reportedly in good health and was released back into the ocean by locals,” wrote local news website The Edition.

The incident has sparked fresh debates on the environmental and social costs of the Maldive’s tourism-propelled growth (sounds familiar?).

“The question remains on how much of Maldives’ biodiversity must be sacrificed in order to propel our country forward industrially and economically,” the website said.

The airport,  which has a 2.2 kilometre, 40 metre-wide runway, was inaugurated in August last year. The UAE-funded project was built on Maafaru, one of the inhabited islands of Noonu Atoll, which is a traditional nesting place of the marine turtles.

Once a green turtle hatches and heads into the ocean, it rarely returns to land. When they reach sexual maturity, they travel long distances to go back to their natal place to mate and lay eggs.

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is on the list of endangered species of animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Sea turtle returns to its nesting place - it's now an airport! | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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