VIENTIANE, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government is racheting up the provision of urgent relief and assistance to those left homeless after the recent flood caused by the failure of an auxiliary dam at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower plant.
The process of relief distribution and other assistance is being carried out transparently to avoid public complaints as well as ensuring that all services are accessible, local state-run daily Vientiane Times reported on Friday.
Since the dam wall burst on July 23, more than 100 people have remained missing and several thousands are taking shelter in schools, village offices and community clubs.
In response to the tragedy, the Lao government has formed a special taskforce committee led by Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone. The taskforce is made up of committee members from line ministries and Attapeu authorities and is working to provide assistance as quickly as possible.
Sonexay on Thursday met with the committee members in Sanamxay district to hear about the progress of the relief effort and activities related to the provision of shelters, healthcare units, food, and sanitation for people now housed in temporary shelters in the district.
The deputy prime minister advised district authorities to ascertain the precise number of people living in each temporary camp and said the authorities should not allow people to return home or start cleaning up their houses so as to avoid the outbreak of any water-borne diseases.
"Right now, we should focus on providing clean food, hygienic toilets and other essential items for the affected villagers. All short-term shelters and other services should be provided with the same standard and quality to ensure the well-being of our people," Sonexay said.
He stressed that clean drinking water and boiled water was a priority for people housed in the shelters and that medicines should be accessible by those in need of healthcare.
The deputy prime minister also called on the officials in charge of distributing relief supplies to ensure transparency in their dealings and to keep accurate records and a clear accounting system.
Governor of Attapeu province Leth Xayaphone said "Officials should be always on duty as assistants to distribute relief items. All assigned officials should be responsible and there is no reason to skip the given assignments unless there is a substitute on standby".