Flooding likely to cause rice shortage in Laos’ province

By News Desk | Source: Vientiane Times
Many families in Borikhan district, Borikhamxay province of Laos, may experience a shortage of rice in the coming months after their rice stores were damaged by recent flash flooding.

Heavy rain last weekend caused the Nam Xan river to rise rapidly. It broke its banks in many places, flooding houses and rice barns and inundating croplands.

Some livestock were also swept away in several villages of the district, according to the provincial disaster management office.

More than 1,500 families were affected by the flooding but the authorities have yet to estimate the cost of the damages, because access remains difficult in some areas and they are awaiting information from district officials.

The flooding peaked at around 3am on Monday, with the floodwaters beginning to recede on Tuesday, but some families with houses in low lying areas are still isolated.

Many families are now cleaning the silt from their houses but no assistance has been forthcoming for the affected villagers as yet, provincial disaster management authorities reported yesterday.

Numerous roads and tracks remain underwater, making travel and transport difficult. The new road linking Pakxan district, the capital of Borikhamxay province, to Xieng Khuang was closed on Monday after a landslide blocked the road in Borikhan district.

The landslide is about one kilometre from the urban centre of Borikhan, according to a report from the provincial route management section Deputy Head, Chanthaboun Mokhasombath.

Many buses and other travellers using the road had to wait all day Monday at the site of the landslide before the provincial public works and transport department finally cleared the soil from the road, which opened to traffic on Tuesday morning.

“However, people who are using this route to travel between Borikhamxay and Xieng Khuang provinces may still experience difficulties and delays because, although the soil was cleared, further subsidence may see the road blocked again,” Chanthaboun said.

“We are stopping work every hour to allow traffic to pass. Ongoing rainfall is causing us problems but we are working as hard as possible to ensure the road stays open,” he assured motorists.

Rain will continue to fall across the country this week, with heavy rains forecast for some areas and isolated showers and drizzle for others, according to the Meteorology and Hydrology Department.

This year, the rains arrived in early May, slightly earlier than the average annual onset in the middle of the month, Head of the Weather Forecasting and Aeronautical Meteorology Division, Vandy Duangmala, reported.

Rainfall has been persistent since last weekend, with some parts of the country experiencing heavy downpours and localised flooding.