Lao parliament urges gov't to enhance disaster management efforts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-25 12:44:22|Editor: ZX
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VIENTIANE, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The Lao National Assembly (NA) called on the Lao government to enhance efforts to better assist victims of natural disasters and to minimize loss of life and property in such incidents, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.

While debating the disaster management law at the ongoing NA session on Monday, parliamentarians highlighted the need to strengthen coordination mechanisms between government departments so that timely assistance can be provided to those in need.

Some of the most significant features to be taken into account include an early warning for villagers so that they can be aware of disasters, stronger efforts for rescue and relief operations, and quicker recovery assistance to enable the affected people to rebuild their lives.

An NA member from northern Laos' Luang Prabang province, Thongchan Manixay, said recovery operations, particularly after floods, were very slow in Laos due to the lack of funding.

"In my province, flooding destroyed roads and bridges last year, but even now we are still unable to rebuild those damaged infrastructure facilities," he said.

A member from southern Laos' Savannakhet province, Bountem Xuangxayavong, highlighted the importance of the disaster management fund to mobilize funding from the public to assist victims and recovery operations. He added the spending of the fund must be transparent and prioritized for important tasks, including emergency rescue and relief operations and recovery activities.

Another member from central Laos' Khammuan province, Somchay Phetsinuan, said the new law needs to contain measures to fight fake news, which crops up during disasters.

The NA members said the early warning is very important for people to escape the impact of disasters and minimize losses to lives and property. In addition, the rehabilitation or rebuilding lives of the victims is critical to enable them to continue normal lives.

Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Khampheng Saysompheng told the session that it was necessary to enact the law to serve as a legal instrument for all sectors to perform their roles in assisting victims and managing disasters.

He said that in the past, the roles of different sectors were not defined thoroughly and their implementation of the government's policy was not comprehensive, and this resulted in a number of problems, including delays in rescue operations, recovery and the warning system.

In 2018, a total of 2,409 villages with 113,507 families were affected by natural disasters, 100 people of which are still missing following heavy flooding, according to the government report. Authorities have arranged temporary accommodation for 3,616 families after their homes were damaged or destroyed.

The disaster management law of Laos has been drafted several years ago, with a number of inputs contributed by different sectors to make it more comprehensive, said the report.