Lao Villages Submerged Under 6 Feet of Water
By Boaz Wadel
Water more than 6 feet high swept away homes and submerged shops and schools in southern Laos earlier this month after heavy rains caused the Khamouan River to overflow.
More than 79,000 people in villages throughout Champasak province are displaced, out of work or school, and need help.
"I felt my body get wet, and then I woke up. I saw the water up high, inside my house," Kone, a mother of six, told World Vision emergency responders. "I woke up my children and wanted to move to another place, but we did not have a boat."
Kone's home was destroyed in the floods, along with many others. She was able to move her children to safety after a neighbor offered to help them escape the rising waters.
This is the worst flooding in the area in 35 years, says Phaiboun Kimanivong, a World Vision staff member located in the affected area. The flooding left many isolated, without access to basic necessities.
"We don't have a place to go to the toilet or water to take a bath," says 9-year-old Noy, a child affected by the flooding. "We have only a small amount of rice and no water to drink."
Some communities are only accessible by boat.
World Vision sponsors support about 700 children in affected areas. The organization is working with the government to provide emergency food, clean water, and medical supplies to residents in hard-to-reach villages.
Even if schools open soon, many students will have no furniture to sit or write on.
World Vision plans to help communities recover with cleanup kits, rice, crop seed, school repairs, and other supplies.
Albert Yu is World Vision's East Asia regional communications director.