VIENTIANE, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Lao officials and military personnel last week used aircraft and trucks of the Lao People's Army to deliver emergency supplies including drinking water, food, boats, tents and household essentials to six southern provinces devastated by floods.
Tropical depression Podul and other weather systems that have passed over southern and central Laos since the end of August unleashed torrential rain, causing widespread flooding in southern Lao provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Salavan, Champasak and Sekong, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.
Director General of the Social Welfare Department under Lao Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Vilayphong Sysomvang, told local media on Friday that they were working with the Lao People's Army to rush emergency supplies to Salavan province, some 670 km southeast of Lao capital Vientiane, Champasak province, 484 km south of Lao capital Vientiane, and Savannakhet province, some 410 km east of the Lao capital Vientiane.
Two aircraft and trucks are delivering 35 rescue boats, 130 tents and over 2,000 packages of supplies.
"We will use helicopters to deliver supplies to people in flooded areas which trucks cannot access because of flooded roads. Many families are staying in temporary accommodation on higher ground in Champasak, Salavan and Sekong provinces," Vilayphong said.
Last week, vehicles travelling to the south had to stop when they reached Savannakhet because the road was cut off by floodwater, the President of Vientiane's Southern Bus Association, Khamsaen Thammavong, said.
This week, people wanting to take supplies to flooded areas should check the road conditions with the Southern Bus Association before travelling.
Lao Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare is mobilizing funding and essential supplies and is calling on state organizations and private businesses to assist the flood victims. Meanwhile, the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of Laos Rescue is accepting donations of food, drinking water and essential supplies from members of the public for distribution to flood victims in Savannakhet and Salavan provinces.
Authorities in flooded areas say the most urgent need is for food, including dried and instant goods and rice, as well as drinking water and clean water for daily use, and other essential items.
The floods have resulted in the death of one person in Savannakhet and another in Champasak, while two people are missing in Champasak province, according to the Social Welfare Department.
In Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Salavan, Champasak and Sekong provinces, 54,207 families in 788 villages of 37 districts have been affected. More than 130,500 hectares of rice fields, 251 hectares of vegetable plots and 953 fishponds have been damaged, according to the report.
Many districts in six provinces are still affected by flooding. Authorities and members of rescue teams are continuing to move people in at-risk areas to safe locations.