VIENTIANE, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government has obtained 2,221 tons of rice from the ASEAN plus Three (China, Japan, South Korea) Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR+3) for distribution to flood victims in Attapeu province in southern Laos.
Each ASEAN member country has an emergency rice reserve, and the rice stock in Laos is made up of the country's own grain supplies. The use of rice from the APTERR+3 is part of the agreed cooperation on assistance in cases of natural disaster.
The 2,221 tons provided from the rice reserve will be given to the people of Sanamxay district, who lost their homes and crops during a catastrophic flash flood last July following the collapse of a dam at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower plant, some 560 km southeast of Lao capital Vientiane.
The rice was handed over on last Friday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy, who is a member of the National Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control, to Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Khampheng Saysompheng, local Vientiane Times daily reported on Tuesday.
The Lao government requested the rice from APTERR+3 to help people in Sanamxay district, many of whom still lack basic necessities.
Since 2015, the government has stored about 3,000 tons of rice under the APTERR+3 emergency scheme. In 2017, the government used 664 tons of rice from the reserve for distribution to people affected by flooding in northern and central Lao provinces.
Last year, the government authorized the provision of 114.1 tons of rice for flood victims in three districts of Vientiane province.
According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, provincial authorities in Attapeu are working to improve conditions in Sanamxay district by repairing bridges and roads that were damaged during the flood.
Many families in the area also still need help with health services, hygiene and sanitation, and the provision of general consumer items.
The collapse of an under-construction saddle dam at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower plant, invested by South Korean, Thai and Lao companies, triggered devastating floods. Till the end of last year, 42 had been found dead with 23 remained missing, and more than 6,000 left homeless in the accident.