DEVOTEES from Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya rallied together to collect RM20,000 in donations for flood victims in Laos.
The money was presented to Laos ambassador to Malaysia Houmdaphone Soukhaseum by the temple’s chief abbot Ai Aan Isim at a cheque presentation ceremony in the latter’s official residence.
Also present at the cheque presentation ceremony were the temple’s honorary secretary Datuk Sa Wai Boon Chock and honorary treasurer Datuk Lim Edin Nom.
The contribution was in aid of flood victims who were displaced after the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapsed in July, causing massive flash floods in Attepeu province and together with it, vast destruction and disruption on the local community’s daily activities.
“The Laos government has yet to conduct a full assessment on the damage caused by the flood but 7,000 people have been made homeless, 90 are still missing and 39 are reported dead,’’ said Houmdaphone.
He added that the number of fatalities would have been higher if not for the early warning given by the engineers who had earlier detected flaws in the dam and called for an evacuation.
The dam, a part of the republic’s US$1.2bil (RM4.98bil) hydropower project, is located on the Sekong River, a tributary of the Mekong River.
The ceremony was also attended by Bangkok Bank chief executive officer Choo Joon Keong who handed over a cheque of RM3,000 to Houmdaphone. This sum was donated by bank employees who contributed for the cause.
As a sign of gratitude and goodwill, a basket of fruits and bags of Laotian coffee were given to the visiting party.
Members of the public who are keen to help financially are advised to send their cheques to the Laos Embassy or call 03-2148 7059. Bulk items are not encouraged due to logistical challenges.