VIENTIANE, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The inspection of hydropower projects is at the top of the agenda for the Lao government to ensure the safety of all dams, a senior official has confirmed.
Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath, told local media recently the government will regularly examine the standards of all hydropower projects in Laos to instill confidence in people living downstream.
"We are inspecting more than 510 dam projects. Some of them have been banned from developing their projects further after failing to meet the requisite standards," local daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday quoted the minister as saying.
The Lao government is taking into account dam safety measures after the collapse of the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower reservoir's Saddle Dam D in Attapeu province's Sanamxay district on July 23, 2018.
The tragedy killed over 40 people and many more people went missing while thousands of others were rendered homeless. Several villages in the district were wiped out by the flash floods. The government acknowledged that thousands of villagers have encountered hardship as all their belongings were swept away by the flooding, one of the worst deluges in Lao history.
The minister said the government has set up a committee for dam safety management in which foreign experts are included.
"We have six teams which have been tasked to examine the safety of 63 hydropower projects in cooperation with experts of those dams," he said. "All dams must have their own experts in the field of dam safety to ensure standards of those dams and the well-being of people living downstream."
Previously, the Lao government issued a notice for relevant departments to examine hydropower projects under construction. Later, a committee was established in cooperation with foreign experts to inspect under construction hydropower projects and those under development.