VIENTIANE, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- As relief operations continue in flooded villages of Attapeu province of southern Laos, UN agencies are working with the government and humanitarian partners to bring in clean water, food, shelter and medical aid for the more than 13,000 people affected by the floods.
Tropical storm Son-Tinh caused heavy rains and flooding in 13 provinces and unprecedented flash floods in Attapeu Province, the largest national tragedy in the country's recent history.
In order to address the most pressing needs, the Humanitarian Country Team in Laos has activated eight priority clusters, namely water, sanitation and hygiene, health, food security and nutrition, shelter, protection, education, logistics and early recovery, Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Monday.
These clusters are coordinating response activities among key stakeholders including the government, UN agencies, international non-government organizations, donors and other partners.
The United Nations in the Lao PDR, in close coordination with the government, continues to provide food and non-food items such as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, water taps, electric pumps, tents, mosquito nets and medical items to the over 6,000 affected people living in camps.
A joint Disaster Response Plan has been developed by the Humanitarian Country Team and presented to the government, with generous contributions by donors already made.
As expressed by the government at a recent press conference last week, four priority areas require support: research and rescue of those missing; rehabilitation of roads and bridges that have been damaged; food supplies and utensils; and medical equipment and supplies, including vaccination to prevent disease outbreaks, ambulances and mental health support.
"The priority of the United Nations is to provide immediate emergency relief to address the needs of the affected populations while working on a medium and longer-term response plan," said UN Resident Coordinator Kaarina Immonen.
Thirty UN staff from eight agencies are on the ground to support the ongoing operation. A team of experts from headquarter and regional offices specializing in emergency assessment, rapid initial assessment, logistics support, risk communications, displacement management, health and camp coordination has also arrived, according to the KPL report.