Tropical storm Nock-Ten brings more flooding: Laos

LAOS - Flooding occurred in many northern and central provinces, including 45 villages in six districts of Khammuan province, after tropical storm Nock-Ten hit Laos over the weekend, but exact details on the extent of damage is yet to be reported.

Heavy rainfall on Saturday and Sunday caused river levels to rise, inundating low lying areas of the country, but no reports of deaths or injuries have been recorded so far. Khammuan province began to feel the effects of Nock-Ten on Saturday morning. By Sunday many villages were flooded, especially in Hinboun district were 25 villages and 15 schools are still flooded, according to a provincial disaster management official, Mr Bounsieng Xaphakdee.

He said there were likely to be large losses of livestock, with buffaloes, cows, goats and chickens feared missing. The water level of the Xebangfay river has been rising steadily, so officials are unable to assess the extent of the damage at this stage.

The levels of the Namxan and Namkading rivers in Borikhamxay province have not reached emergency levels or caused flooding of houses and crops alongside the rivers, Deputy Head of the Borikhamxay provincial Agriculture Department Mr Somsa-Nguam Souvannalath said.

However, people living in the Nam Deua and Thongnamy areas of Pakkading district are experiencing difficulties coping with heavy rainfall and the large volume of water running off a nearby mountain.

Mr Somsa-Nguam said that the water level of the Mekong river in the area is currently at around 12 metres, while the warning level is 13.5 metres.

He said that the water levels of rivers in the district remain a concern as rain continues to fall, but if the rising waters approach warning levels local authorities will begin to issue frequent alerts to local residents, enabling them sufficient time to move to higher ground.

Borikhamxay province experiences frequent flooding, so local people know to follow weather reports broadcast on radio and television stations, as well as warnings issued by provincial authorities, he noted.

"Many low lying areas and some roads are flooded, but there are no reports of destruction," said Head of the Flood Disaster Fund Mr Saithong Vonglorkham. However, the fund is still waiting for reports from local authorities, he cautioned.

Mr Saithong said the rainfall was not as extensive as that during tropical storm Haima, which hit the province on June 24 and caused widespread flooding and landslides in mountainous areas.

According to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, 127.5mm of rain fell in Vientiane on Saturday, with another 71 mm on Sunday. It cautioned that a new storm is developing over the Pacific Ocean and frequent alerts will be issued to local residents if the storm approaches Laos.

Tropical storm Nock-Ten also battered the Philippines, where local media reported 40 people were killed and 16 remain missing. One person has been confirmed dead in Vietnam, while Thailand has not reported any fatalities in relation to the storm. The storm made landfall in northern Vietnam early Saturday and had become a low pressure area by the time it reached Thailand from Laos.