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Rescuers search for 131 missing persons in Laos flooding

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Laotian rescuers are continuing their search for 131 missing people. They have been missing since Monday’s fracture of the banks of the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower dam causing devastating floods to villages in the southern Laos province of Attapeu.

The Laos PM Thongloun Sisoulith says, “Impact of this flooding is enormous.”

The Vientiane Times is reporting that the disaster has left 3,060 people homeless. It’s also reporting that those who sought shelters on rooftops and trees have now been rescued by Tuesday evening.

Officials say that vulnerable people such as children and elderly people were swept away and were unlikely be able to help themselves, adding that the assumed 19 or more deaths were included in the 131 missing victims.

Rescuers are battling with decreasing water depth, which is hard for boats to travel to reach areas.

Aid reliefs such as food and clothes are urgently needed to help the victims who have been temporarily sheltered at various locations, PM Thongloun was quoting as saying.

“The rescued villagers have undergone health check-up and provided with basic needs,” he said.

Rescuers search for 131 missing persons in Laos flooding | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile rescue teams from Laos, Thailand and China have been rushing to help survivors and search for signs of the missing. The Sanamxay district in Attapeu province has been the hardest-hit by devastating floods unleashed by the collapse of a hydropower dam.

Vientiane Times is reporting that Thai rescue teams were the first from abroad to access the area to assist flash flood victims in Sanamxay following the partial collapse of Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower reservoir’s Saddle Dam D.

It quotes local officials as reporting that at noon on Wednesday, over 80 rescue personnel from Water and Dive Rescue Thailand Club and Hook 31 (Nakhon Ratchasima) of Thailand with rescue boats and essential assistance items passed through the Vangtao-Chongmek border checkpoint in Champassak province. They are contributing to efforts to search for the missing.

Meanwhile, over 30 rescue personnel from China have already registered with local officials to assist flood victims and search for the missing.

Some 25 rescue personnel from Savannakhet rescue team and Khammuan rescue team are also searching for the missing and cooperating with Thai rescue personnel to provide foods to the flood victims, President of Society Volunteers Rescue Vientiane Capital (1624) Mr Lamngern Vongphachan said.

Japan has provided essential equipment to assist the victims. Meanwhile, a medical team from South Korea was also on its way to Laos, the paper said.

 

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Laos

Laos prime minister orders an extension on lockdown measures

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Photo via Facebook/ ພະແນກສາທາລະນະສຸກ ແຂວງ ສະຫວັນນະເຂດ

While the majority of countries across the globe have been grappling with Covid-19 outbreaks for the past year, Laos, just North of Thailand, has only reported 1,177 cases with the vast majority of the infections detected over the past month.

Laos PM Phankhan Viphavanh says ordered an extension on lockdown measures, now until May 20, saying it is essential in containing the Covid-19 outbreak, which spiked in mid-April with some daily new cases surpassing 100. Yesterday, the country recorded 105 new cases. In Vientiane, the capital of Laos, the government has prepared 3 field hospitals with 1,200 beds.

“The government is aware that extending measures will cause difficulties in people’s daily lives… But we ask everyone to understand the situation and to be patient so that we may control and eventually overcome this virus outbreak.”

Over the next 2 weeks, the Covid-19 situation will be monitored by the Laos government, the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, and local task forces. In areas where the virus is contained, officials will look into easing restrictions. In areas with clusters of infections, restrictions will remain tight.

Apparently, some Laos residents caused problems for local health officials who are trying to contain the virus. Phankham some people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have refused to be admitted into healthcare facilities while others residents break Covid-19 prevention rules such as holding large gatherings.

Laos prime minister orders an extension on lockdown measures | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 6 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Laos prime minister orders an extension on lockdown measures | News by Thaiger

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 6 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Thailand

UN representative talks with Thai officials to help refugees fleeing Myanmar

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Photo via Facebook/ Karen Information Center - KIC

With ongoing violence in Myanmar between the military junta and ethnic armies, a representative from the United Nations has held discussions with local authorities in Mae Hong Son, which borders Myanmar, to look into ways to help more than 2,000 Karen refugees who fled their homes to escape the violence.

Following the military coup in February, ousting the state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi who had won the election in a landslide, hundreds of anti-coup protesters have been killed by security forces. Ethnic armies, many that occupy border regions, have clashed with the military junta following the coup. The prominent ethnic army of the Karen National Union has openly supported the anti-coup movement, leading to violent clashes with the military junta. Some fear it may be the start of a civil war.

The Myanmar military launched airstrikes on a Karen village by the Thai border in March. It was a significant attack for the Karen National Union, which had signed a ceasefire agreement back in 2015. The Karen army recently took over a state military outpost by the Thai border. Gunshots could be heard just across the Salaween River in Thailand. The ongoing violence has forced around 2,160 Karen to flee their home and cross the river into Thailand.

Mae Hong Son governor Sitthichai Jindaluang says he, as well as other senior provincial officials, met with a protection officer from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to discuss ways to help provide assistance for the Karen refugees.

“The UNHCR representative was deeply concerned about the refugees and we told him that we have already provided them with temporary shelters, public health assistance, food, medicine, and other necessities.”

Troops have been deployed along the Thai-Myanmar border. If the situation between the Karen army and the Myanmar military escalates, then refugees will be relocated to another shelter about 1 to 2 kilometres away from the border.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Vietnam extends quarantine for overseas arrivals to 21 days

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Photo via Facebook/ Thông tin Chính phủ

Just the thought of 14 days in isolation has driven away many prospective tourists. Imagine 21 days in quarantine. If you want to travel to Vietnam, you’ll now have to go through the 3 week quarantine upon entering the country, Vietnam’s Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long announced yesterday.

The country of 96 million people has kept cases low at just 3,000 confirmed infections and 35 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.

The move to extend the mandatory quarantine period from 14 days to 21 days comes after Vietnamese health officials reported some positive Covid-19 cases that were detected after the patients had completed the 14 day quarantine. Last month, a Vietnamese national had returned home from Japan and tested positive for Covid-19 after he was released from the 14 day quarantine. Reports say that case caused a cluster of infections in the northern province Hà Nam.

National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, a top hospital in Vietnam that has treated many Covid-patients, went into lockdown after a doctor, and later 14 others, tested positive for the coronavirus. The health minister then made the announcement to extend the quarantine period.

“The Ministry of Health has decided to extend the period of mandatory quarantine for people who have made close contact with COVID-19 patients and people who have entered Vietnam.”

Vietnam extends quarantine for overseas arrivals to 21 days | News by Thaiger

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Vietnam as of 5 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | CNA

 

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