VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Thousands of people in the southern provinces have been affected by flooding as Tropical Storm Noru moves across mainland South-East Asia.
The storm caused devastation in the provinces of Attapeu, Xekong and Champassak, with local authorities being ordered to evacuate people stranded as a result of the floods.
In Xekong province, 28 villages experienced flooding after the Xekong River burst its banks. Two roads became impassable and landslides were reported on nine other roads, while electricity and water connections were cut off in several villages.
Rescue operations and emergency relief efforts have begun as authorities battle to assist those in need.
The Ministry of Labour and Social welfare has instructed local authorities to provide assistance to families who have been made homeless or lost their possessions in the floods.
A fundraising campaign will be set in motion, both in Laos and among development partners, to provide cash, dried food and clothing for people whose homes have been inundated.
Sanxay and Sanamxay districts in Attapeu province are among the worst affected areas and local authorities are trying to help people who are stranded by floodwaters.
Sources in Attapeu say the storm hit the province on the night of September 27 when torrential rain caused flooding in the districts of Samakhixay, Xaysetha, Phouvong, Sanxay and Sanamxay.
In response, the Provincial Disaster Management Committee has ordered rescue teams to use the boats, vehicles and personnel at their disposal to help affected villagers.
The Committee has organised three boats and 30 people to help evacuate people from flooded areas of Sanxay district.
The province has four boats, three vehicles and 70 people for deployment in rescue operations, and is supervised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Provincial environment officials are monitoring river levels and formulating plans to cope with the situation, while the provincial Secretariat is on standby 24 hours a day.
In Champassak province, 73 villages are reported to be affected, with power lines down in Champassak district and numerous houses and other properties inundated.
People living on the banks of the Mekong from Huapabo village to Huai Nang have been particularly affected by flooding and authorities have warned of the possibility of landslides in hilly areas.
Meanwhile, people are trying to rescue their livestock and move them to higher ground.