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Authorities Need to Turn on Flooding Assistance Taps

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Provincial disaster management committees need to continue financial assistance to people affected by natural disasters with vital funding often too slow at the local level, an official said.

An anonymous official from the Department of Disaster Management and Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment told Vientiane Times by telephone yesterday of improvements to the committees to facilitate smoother cooperation between committed local and central officials to assist people affected by natural disasters.

The provincial committees have set up funds to receive donations from society which can then be used to assist people affected by natural disasters in the country.

Thousands of families have been affected in recent times and many are having to move into shelters because their single-storey homes were inundated, the official said.

She noted that the number of organisations helping authorities to boost the resilience of vulnerable communities had increased in recent years but poor coordination among these organisations and the communities they serve had resulted in insufficient preparedness for disasters because local authorities hadn’t reported back quickly enough.

Concerning the budget, the participants also mentioned difficulties in relation to the committees’ work and local authorities.

District and provincial personnel needed this money to assist victims straight away before they could get additional help from the government and each province had this fund, she said. This year, district authorities have been sending information about natural disasters from local inhabitants to the government in an effort to help reduce those affected in the future.

The committees were implementing improvements to their funding procedures and there was an initiative to ensure separation between the budget for administrative work and that earmarked for actual response and relief, she added.

According to the ministry, the northern provinces of Bokeo, Xayaboury, and Oudomxay were affected by flooding this year.

During August in Bokeo 139 families in the three districts of Houayxai, Pha-Oudom and Paktha were affected.

More than 200 hectares of upland and wet season rice within the districts was damaged and almost 100 livestock and poultry deaths were reported.

District roads were also damaged, especially in Paktha and Pha-Oudom, which suffered from landslides and washouts.

In Xayaboury province, the four villages of Napoung, Khaenkham, Sibounheuang and Phonsoung in Hongsa district were the worst affected.

More than 70 families or 891 people living along rivers were impacted by flash flooding which affected 170 households, damaged 4.5 hectares of rice, killed 624 poultry and saw 15,000 fish escape from their fish ponds.

More than 2,000 families in 25 villages of Houn district, Oudomxay province were also impacted and over 2,000 hectares of rice, sweet corn and some cash crops were lost.

 

Source: Vientiane Times