This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of some 2.9 million Swiss francs on a preliminary basis to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Lao Red Cross (LRC) to deliver assistance and support 7,500 people for 18 months. The operation will focus on the following main areas of interventions: shelter; livelihoods and basic needs; health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); protection, gender and inclusion (PGI); disaster risk reduction (DRR); and National Society capacity enhancement. The Appeal includes a provision for possible shelter cluster coordination. Details will be made available through the Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA).
The disaster and the Red Cross Red Crescent response to date
23 July 2018: After days of heavy rainfall and floods, the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam collapses at 8pm, releasing five billion cubic meters of waters and affecting 7,000 residents in six villages.
24 July 2018: Rescue and recovery operations take place, evacuating survivors away from the flooded areas. LRC assists in the rescue operations. Affected areas declared as disaster areas.
25 July 2018: Emergency meeting is held at the LRC headquarters, together with partnering organizations to formulate a response plan.
26 July 2018: IFRC issues Emergency Appeal for 2.9 million Swiss francs and allocates 400,000 Swiss francs from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the LRC to assist 7,500 people for 18 months.
The operational strategy
Upon notice of the disaster, LRC mobilized rescue teams into the affected areas (please refer to map at the end of this document), augmenting the local government response forces in the operations. According to a situation report drafted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), five human lives have been lost with at least 34 people missing. A total of 3,747 households (11,777 people) have been affected, of whom 1,494 have been evacuated to safer areas. Based on initial information, the main needs relate to food items, non-food items (including mosquito nets), hygiene kits, and emergency shelter supplies (tarpaulins and toolkits).
According to the results of population and housing census 2015, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is primarily an agricultural economy. Approximately 2,500,000 individuals are involved in agricultural work, making a total of 72 per cent employment share of the industry. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 80 per cent of the rural population are still subsistence farmers, depending on heavily rice-based agriculture, raising livestock and relying on collection of food from the wild to supply it with nutrient-rich foodstuffs.
With the flash floods, these agricultural lands and livestock would have been destroyed, and no harvests would be made. Without these, the affected farmers would have lost their means of livelihood and would be economically vulnerable.