Laos Update: August 20, 2018

Laos Update | August 20, 2018
Authors: Matt Solomon, Ella Duangkaew
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
August 23-24, 2018: Laos Business Mission: The Council’s 2018 Laos Business Mission will take place from August 23-24. Meetings are confirmed for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, the Minister of Health, the Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, the Vice Minister of Post and Telecommunications, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Lao PDR, and the U.S. Ambassador to Laos. The deadline for registration (August 9) has passed, but if companies are still interested in participating please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Government of Laos Taking Strong Measures Following Dam Collapse

The Government of Laos is taking a number of strong measures following the catastrophic dam collapse in the Attapeu province on July 23, which has now left 34 people dead and around 123 missing (see the Council’s previous Update on the dam collapse here).

On August 7, the Government of Laos announced that it will suspend all new hydropower dam projects, and renew the inspection of existing ones. This was announced following a two-day Cabinet meeting that was held in response to the disaster, primarily to track progress on relief and reconstruction.

The Government will also establish a special committee to inspect all existing dam projects, particularly checking for flaws in the design or construction of the dams. This committee will include representatives from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the support of international experts in the area. In addition to this special committee, the government will also establish a new task force to investigate the specific dam that collapsed in the Attapeu province. This task force will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Government Inspection Authority Dr. Bounthong Chitmany.

An additional special task force, with representatives across several Government ministries, is also being formed to oversee the management of all national-level crises, such as the dam collapse. According to the Laotian Times, this special task force will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sonxay Siphandone and will be tasked with: performing analyses on the damages enacted by the disaster in question and employing solutions to mitigate any effects; investigating the causes of the disaster and taking necessary precautions to prevent them in the future; and spreading public awareness of the disaster and provide the public with up to date news and developments.

These strong measures are warranted given the extent of the damage caused by the dam collapse, and given that Laos was heavily invested in its hydropower dam projects to become the “Battery of ASEAN.” Some experts have encouraged Laos to abandon this plan, citing that hydropower dams are expensive and dangerous, and may cause more harm than benefit. Accordingly, these experts have noted that the Government’s recent actions, particularly the suspension of new hydropower projects, reflect an understanding that the “Battery of ASEAN” plan may be problematic. It remains unclear if the Government will decrease its investment in the energy sector, which has been a primary driver of growth for the Lao economy, particularly following the historic signing of the tripartite electricity sharing agreement with Malaysia and Thailand (see the Council’s previous Update here for more detail). In the case that it does de-emphasize energy-sector investment, growing industries such as financial services, ICT, and tourism may serve as possible alternate drivers of growth for the Lao economy.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
ASEAN Fair 2018 To Be Held Next Month
Malaysia Committed To Enhance Education Cooperation With Laos
Dam failure clouds Laos' dream of becoming regional power force
Lao Dam Collapse Floodwaters Hit Stung Treng, Cambodia
Laos, Myanmar enhance cooperation
Laos Marks 51st ASEAN Founding Anniversary And 21st Lao PDR Accession To ASEAN

National Affairs
MRC Ready to Support Review and Update of Lao Hydropower Strategy and Plan
Reflooding Hampers Rescue Efforts In Attapeu’s Sanamxay
CEGGA Advisory Board Holds Meeting on Citizen Engagement
Death Toll Rises to 34 in Attapeu Following Floods
Government Is Grateful For Help From International Community; PM
Lao Foreign Minister Meets With US Counterpart
Gov’t To Do It Utmost To Search For Missing People; PM
U.S. Ambassador Announces Support For Emergency Relief In Attapeu
Laos Dam Failure Exposes Cracks in a Secretive Government’s Agenda
Government Appoints Special Task Force to Combat National Level Crises

Energy
Laos urged to abandon ‘Battery of Asia’ plan
Lao Government to Suspend All New Hydropower Dam Projects
Lao dam review ‘right decision’
Dam Failure Due to Substandard Construction Says Minister
No delay in completion of Laos hydropower project: Mega First

Food & Agriculture
Farmland flood damage bill exceeds 125 billion kip
WFP Response To Disaster In Southern Laos
Laos Closes Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops At Don Sao Market In Golden Triangle
Food safety programme gets 5-year extension

Health & Life Sciences
EU-UNICEF Handover Vehicles To Government To Monitor Nutrition Interventions
Safe Pregnancy And Childbirth, Hygiene And Dignity: UNFPA’s Humanitarian Response To Lao Dam Collapse Focuses On Special Needs Of Women And Girls
Attapeu Asks For Relief Aid For Flood Victims
Saving lives should be priority after dam collapse in Laos
BCEL One Heart Makes Donation For Flood Victims Easier
Govt discusses Lao Red Cross law contents

ICT
Laos hosts summit on blockchain technology
Techconnect Laos-Vietnam 2018 Launched
Laos intellectual property law undergoes changes

Infrastructure
Japan-Funded Wattay International Airport Expansion Project Handed Over To Lao Government
AIIB Welcomes HK Contribution of USD10 Million to Help Low-Income Countries in Asia - News - AIIB
The Laos dam collapse, and the hidden costs of the Mekong's hydroelectric plans
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

ASEAN Fair 2018 To Be Held Next Month KPL: Lao News Agency 15th Aug 2018
The 2nd ASEAN Fair (2018) will be held between Sep 20-23 to promote trade, investment and tourism between Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The 2nd ASEAN Fair will be held at Savan ITECC in Savannakhet Province, Laos on 20-23 September, Vice President of the National Chamber of Industry and Commerce Chanthachone Vongxay told a press conference in Vientiane Capital on Aug 13. This event is organized to promote the competitiveness of products from ASEAN member states at international markets and partnership among entrepreneurs in the region, said Mrs Chanthachone.

Malaysia Committed To Enhance Education Cooperation With Laos KPL: Lao News Agency 10th Aug 2018
Malaysia is committed to enhance cooperation with the Lao PDR on education, youth and sports. The statement was made by Ambassador of Malaysia to the Lao PDR Mohd Aini Atan when he paid a courtesy call to Minister of Education and Sports Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun in Vientiane on Friday, 10 August 2018.

Dam failure clouds Laos' dream of becoming regional power force Nikkei Asian Review 29th Jul 2018
The dam collapse in Laos has cast a shadow on its goal of quickly ramping up hydroelectric power generation and could threaten industrial policy in Southeast Asia, which counts on electricity from the country.

Lao Dam Collapse Floodwaters Hit Stung Treng, Cambodia The Laotian Times 26th Jul 2018
Floodwaters from the dam collapse in southern Laos have hit Stung Treng province in Cambodia, causing the evacuation of over 5,000 people. The Cambodian Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology stated that floodwaters from the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam in Laos have directly affected parts of Stung Treng, which had already been inundated after heavy rains. Authorities in Stung Treng initially planned to evacuate only 557 families, however the number rose to 1,289 families in communities along the Sekong River after water levels rose to dangerous levels following the dam collapse in Laos.

Laos, Myanmar enhance cooperation Vientiane Times 25th Jul 2018
Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith led a delegation to visit Myanmar on July 23-24 at the invitation of the Union Minister for International Cooperation, Mr U Kyaw Tin. At their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, the two sides said they highly valued the friendly ties and long-standing tradition of close cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, which they said had been persistently strengthened. The development of close relations had been witnessed by regular exchanges of mutual visits at various levels including from high-ranking leaders and technical experts.

Laos Marks 51st ASEAN Founding Anniversary And 21st Lao PDR Accession To ASEAN KPL: Lao News Agency 10th Aug 2018
Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith presided over a flag hoisting ceremony to mark the 51st anniversary of the founding of ASEAN (Aug 8, 1967-2018) and the 21st anniversary of the Lao PDR accession to ASEAN (Jul 23, 1997-2018). The ceremony was attended by ministers overseeing the three ASEAN community pillars, deputy ministers, ambassadors of ASEAN member states and dialogue partners to the Lao PDR, representatives from international organisations, and officials.

National Affairs

MRC Ready to Support Review and Update of Lao Hydropower Strategy and Plan The Laotian Times 16th Aug 2018
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has welcomed the highly applauded and progressive decision of the Prime Minister of Lao PDR, following an extra-ordinary meeting of his cabinet on 6 August 2018, that the country will review all existing and under-construction dams and suspend the consideration of all new hydropower investments considering the Xepian Xenamnoy dam break. According to the press release by the Lao government, the review and suspension will also afford the country to update its hydropower strategy and plan.

Reflooding Hampers Rescue Efforts In Attapeu’s Sanamxay KPL: Lao News Agency 16th Aug 2018
Heavy rains over the past couple days have hampered efforts to rescue and aid flood victims in Sanamxay district, Attapeu Province. Travel between the provincial municipal centre and distant districts has been disrupted. Only airlifted aid can access flood victims in Sanamxay district. Authorities are on standby to evacuate people at shelter centres to higher ground. “Today, Aug 16, 2018, the water level in the Xekong river is rising and flooding lowland areas and two bridges in the municipality of the district thus hampering transport. Specifically the land transport of relief items ​to shelter centers in Tamoyod, Dokbua, and Pindong is now paralysed except airlift,” said Sanamxay governor Bounhome Phommasane

CEGGA Advisory Board Holds Meeting on Citizen Engagement KPL: Lao News Agency 10th Aug 2018
The Advisory Board of the Programme to Promote “Citizen Engagement for Good Governance, Accountability and the Rule of Law” (CEGGA) came together for their first annual meeting in Vientiane on Aug 8, 2018. The board meeting was chaired by Vice Minister of Home Affairs Khammoune Viphongxay, and co-chaired by the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Lao PDR Leo Faber. During the meeting, participants discussed and endorsed the CEGGA Programme Document as the conceptual framework and for incorporating additional EU funding of up to EUR 3 million to the multi-donor governance programme, bringing the total joint contribution of the EU, Germany and Switzerland to EUR 17 million for the duration of 2017- 2020.

Death Toll Rises to 34 in Attapeu Following Floods The Laotian Times 7th Aug 2018
The official death toll from the dam collapse in Attapeu province has now reached 34, after three people died in hospital. One passed away in Sanamxay district hospital, while the other two died at the Attapeu provincial hospital, according to the special government task forcewhich was set up to manage the aftermath of the disaster. Over 100 people remain unaccounted for after the dam collapse which occurred on July 23, and which caused floodwaters to submerge whole villages.

Government Is Grateful For Help From International Community; PM KPL: Lao News Agency 7th Aug 2018
The government cabinet has expressed gratitude to the international community for the care, courage, help extended promptly to the government and Lao people, more specifically to flood victims in Sanamxay district, Attapeu Province. “The government meeting would like to express special thanks to rescue workers, and volunteers from friendly countries, especially from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, PR. China, the Kingdom of Thailand, R. Korea, R. Singapore, among others, who have been working with local rescue workers conducting rescue activities and giving help to victims with a spirit of great devotion and humanity. All the Lao people are extremely grateful for such kindness,” Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said in an address to the closing ceremony of the government monthly meeting on Aug 7.

Lao Foreign Minister Meets With US Counterpart KPL: Lao News Agency 6th Aug 2018
US Secretary of State Pompeo met on Aug 3 with Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith on the margins of the ASEAN-centered ministerials in Singapore. The Secretary welcomed Laos as the United States’ incoming ASEAN coordinator, and underscored the U.S. commitment to the Lower Mekong Initiative, through which the United States partners with Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam to advance transboundary cooperation.

Gov’t To Do It Utmost To Search For Missing People; PM KPL: Lao News Agency 30th Jul 2018
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith ​said on Sunday that the government will continue and do its utmost to search for missing people to rescue them as soon as possible.“We never stop searching for the missing people of this disaster. If anyone is found alive, they will be taken to a safe place immediately so that they can continue to live their life, and dead bodies must be recovered.

U.S. Ambassador Announces Support For Emergency Relief In Attapeu KPL: Lao News Agency 30th Jul 2018
U.S. Ambassador Rena Bitter announced the deployment of a Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) and the immediate release of $100,000 for emergency relief in Attapeu Province and nearby flood-affected areas in southern Laos on Friday, July 27. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Government has deployed a team of experts to coordinate and manage the U.S. Government response, and has partnered with UNICEF Laos to provide affected people with access to clean water, basic hygiene supplies, and other emergency services.

Laos Dam Failure Exposes Cracks in a Secretive Government’s Agenda The New York Times 29th Jul 2018
Laos’s one-party communist government and the international financial institutions that support it have long embraced a “high-wire act” of prioritizing investment over stronger regulation, said Keith Barney, an expert on Laos at the Australian National University. But in the accident’s wake, “the potential pitfalls of poor regulation are now evident for everyone to see,” he said.

Government Appoints Special Task Force to Combat National Level Crises The Laotian Times 27th Jul 2018
The Lao Government has upheld its commitment to improving its disaster management system nationwide by establishing a special committee tasked with overseeing the management of national level crises. Following the failure of a saddle dam at Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower reservoir in the southern province of Attapeu, Prime Minister Thongloun announced in an official decision yesterday the officials that comprise the special committee.

Energy

Laos urged to abandon ‘Battery of Asia’ plan The Nation 9th Aug 2018
Laos has to wake up from its dream to be the major power supplier of the region, say critics.  The recent tragedy at the Xe-Pien Xe-Namnoy hydropower dam has clearly demonstrated that the benefits from selling electricity are small compared to the loss of human life and suffering of Lao citizens, along with the irreversible damage to the environment, said experts and environmentalists. They were speaking at a public panel discussion yesterday at the Christian Student Centre in Bangkok. 

Lao Government to Suspend All New Hydropower Dam Projects The Laotian Times 8th Aug 2018
The government of Laos has announced renewed inspection of existing hydropower dams and suspension of new projects in the wake of the collapse of a dam in Attapeu province. The announcement was made at the closure of the cabinet’s two-day extraordinary meeting, which ended yesterday afternoon. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, dealt with the progress of relief and reconstruction in the aftermath of the dam collapse disaster.

Lao dam review ‘right decision’ The Nation 8th Aug 2018
Environmental and communal rights activists praised the Lao government for its decision to examine the safety standards at all planned hydropower dams and reconsider its “impactful” strategy of generating electricity for export and becoming the Battery of Asia. The Lao government has also decided to suspend the consideration of new investments in hydropower projects in order to review its hydropower development strategy and plans.  Laos issued the latest order on Tuesday in the aftermath of the deadly dam catastrophe at Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam, and said it would inspect every dam to check for flaws in structure and design to ensure safety.

Dam Failure Due to Substandard Construction Says Minister The Laotian Times 27th Jul 2018
Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr Khammany Inthirath, told the media that the collapse of the Saddle Dam at the Xe-Pian Xe-Nam Noy Dam on July 23 was likely due to substandard construction. The dam failure incident caused catastrophic damage to Sanamxay District in Attapeu Province, with hundreds of people missing and thousands displaced. Foreign and local rescue teams are at the scene locating survivors and disbursing supplies. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Minister Khammany said that the government is still investigating the cause of the incident, but that substandard construction coupled with unexpected rainfall was to blame.

No delay in completion of Laos hydropower project: Mega First The Sun Daily 26th Jul 2018
PETALING JAYA: In the wake of the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy (XPXN) hydropower dam in Laos, Mega First Corp Bhd, the developer of the nearby RM2 billion Don Sahong Hydroelectric Power Project, said there will not be a delay in the completion of the project or a material change in its overall cost. Mega First said in a stock exchange filing today it made enquiries with the management of its subsidiary Don Sahong Power Co Ltd (DSPC) and the project consultants after receiving queries from various stakeholders on the risk of a similar situation happening to the Don Sahong project and its implications.

Food & Agriculture

Farmland flood damage bill exceeds 125 billion kip Vientiane Times 14th Aug 2018
The impact of recent flooding has cost the agricultural sector around 127 billion kip, according to an initial report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. However, large areas of crops damaged by the floods have yet to be assessed by authorities who are waiting for water levels to recede. Initial reports from provincial agriculture and forestry departments revealed that a total 71,580 farming families in 1,097 villages, 95 districts in 13 provinces have been impacted by flooding.

WFP Response To Disaster In Southern Laos KPL: Lao News Agency 7th Aug 2018
As a response to the emergency, World Food Programme - WFP - is transporting specialized nutritious food “Nutributter” and canned fish for affected families from its warehouse in Pakse to the many people evacuated to Sanamxay district town. The food covers a two-week ration for the affected people in their temporary shelters. The nutrition status of the children is of particular concern since Attapeu already had very high rates of wasting even before the floods, and now WFP will support to receive nutrient-rich food “Nutributter”.

Laos Closes Down Illegal Wildlife Trade Shops At Don Sao Market In Golden Triangle KPL: Lao News Agency 2nd Aug 2018
The Lao law enforcement officers have shut down illegal wildlife trade in four shops at Don Sao Market in the notorious Golden Triangle, confiscating almost 400 items during surprise raids on July 27, 2018. The illegal items, consisting of 9 different types such as bracelets, necklaces, horns, teeth, bracelets, pendants and bangles --many from endangered species -- were taken for identification and the Chinese shop owners were ordered to no longer sell illegal wildlife items or reproductions of wildlife parts.

Food safety programme gets 5-year extension Khmer Times 25th Jul 2018
A food safety programme implemented by the Mekong Institute in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) has been extended until 2022. The Promoting Safe Food for Everyone (Prosafe) project is now entering its second phase, which will focus on increasing the safety of food in the region through a “coordinated approach to knowledge and skills development,” according to the Mekong Institute, who will be receiving the support of the New Zealand Aid Programme.

Health & Life Sciences

EU-UNICEF Handover Vehicles To Government To Monitor Nutrition Interventions KPL: Lao News Agency 16th Aug 2018
European Union (EU) Ambassador Leo Faber, and Representative UNICEF Lao PDR Octavian Bivol, handed over on August 3, 2018 a total of 11 cars and 85 motorbikes to Minister of Health Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong, as part of the Partnership for Improved Nutrition in the Lao PDR. These vehicles will improve the capacity of the Provincial Nutrition Committee Secretariats to conduct monitoring activities related to the implementation of nutrition actions on the ground.

Safe Pregnancy And Childbirth, Hygiene And Dignity: UNFPA’s Humanitarian Response To Lao Dam Collapse Focuses On Special Needs Of Women And Girls KPL: Lao News Agency 2nd Aug 2018
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, has provided the government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic crucial supplies to support the humanitarian response in the wake of last week’s dam collapse in Attapeu Province, with a particular focus on the special needs of women and girls who comprise about half of the affected population.

Attapeu Asks For Relief Aid For Flood Victims KPL Lao News Agency 30th Jul 2018
The Attapeu Provincial Administration Office has announced needed relief aid for flood victims in Sanamxay district following the collapse of under construction Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam. The dam collapsed at 20.00 hours on Monday, Jul 23 releasing 0.5 billion cubic metres of water with several houses in the southern part of Sanamxay swept away, several human lives claimed, and several hundreds of people missing.

Saving lives should be priority after dam collapse in Laos Thai PBS 30th Jul 2018
The collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe Namnoy saddle dam in Laos should serve as a valuable lesson so that disaster like this will not be repeated but  for now the priority is to save lives and to prevent another water mass of about 200 million cubic metres from flowing downstream, said Seub Nakhasathian Foundation chairman Sasin Chalermlarp. “Anyone who can help should help.This is not the time for finger pointing,” said Sasin, adding that, after the crisis is over, the incident should be reviewed so that the same tragedy will not happen again. Laos, said Sasin, has many high mountains which are ideal for construction of hydro-electric dams which will bring in foreign investment and development for cash-strapped Laos but, at the same time, they may cause public disasters as was the case of a dam collapse.

BCEL One Heart Makes Donation For Flood Victims Easier :: KPL :: Lao News Agency 30th Jul 2018
Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public, mostly known as BCEL, has launched a corporate social responsibility project called BCEL One Heart to raise funds for flood victims in Attapeu and other charity purposes. “BCEL One Heart is a centre of donation for helping the victims in Attapeu province and other charity projects including, Mother of Rural People Project, Rural School Construction Project and Khammouane Provincial Medical Equipment Procurement Project, among others,” Mr Bounleua Sinxayvolavong, Head of Finance Policy Department, Ministry of Finance, told a press conference today, Jul 26.

Govt discusses Lao Red Cross law contents Vientiane Times 30th Jul 2018
Government officials met in the capital yesterday to learn about the Law on Lao Red Cross with the aim to give participants more understanding about the regulation. The meeting took place at the International Cooperation and Training Centre in Vientiane on Tuesday morning and was attended by Lao Red Cross President, Dr Khamhoung Heuangvongsy. During the meeting Dr Khamhoung said it was the first time to give officials an opportunity to learn about and gain understanding of the law. He also highlighted to participants points to concentrate on for discussion to boost comprehension of the law. The draft to the Law on Lao Red Cross was approved by the National Assembly at its 6th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly on October 31, 2017 and announced on promulgation by the President of the Lao PDR on August 8, 2017.

ICT

Laos hosts summit on blockchain technology Vientiane Times 10th Aug 2018
Government officials from different sectors, business representatives, entrepreneurs and Lao and Chinese experts gathered in Vientiane recently to share experiences and exchange information on blockchain technology. Participants also debated about trends in blockchain development for future digital business expansion in the region and around the world. The Global Blockchain Application Conference Laos Summit was held on July 29 by the BST Elephant Chain in Laos, aiming to bring digital technology management investors together to discuss the development and growth of blockchain technology.

Techconnect Laos-Vietnam 2018 Launched KPL: Lao News Agency 9th Aug 2018
More than 300 entrepreneurs, representatives of research institutes and business community from Laos and Vietnam are attending the first ever Techconnect Laos-Vietnam opened in Vientiane on Aug 9, 2018. The two-day event was launched in the presence of Minister of Science and Technology Boviengkham Vongdara, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam Tran Van Tung and senior officials of both countries.

Laos intellectual property law undergoes changes Deacons 26th Jul 2018
A new intellectual property law in Laos took effect on 9 June 2018. This replaced the former regime on trade mark registration which dates back to 20 December 2011. The reform has brought about a number of firsts and it aims to transform the current registration framework into a more streamlined process.

Infrastructure

Japan-Funded Wattay International Airport Expansion Project Handed Over To Lao Government KPL: Lao News Agency 9th Aug 2018
The Wattay International Airport Terminal Expansion Project, funded with a Japanese Official Development Assistance loan of 9.01 billions yen, was officially handed over to the Lao government following 32 months of construction on Aug 9. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Public Works and Transport Bounchanh Sinthavong, Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane and Japanese Ambassador to Laos Takeshi Hikihara took part in the handover ceremony. The number of passengers using Wattay International Airport has increased rapidly. The airport handled 690,000 international passengers and 300,000 domestic passengers in 2014 and it is expected to handle 1.51 million international passengers and 460,000 domestic passengers annually by 2023.

AIIB Welcomes HK Contribution of USD10 Million to Help Low-Income Countries in Asia - News - AIIB AIIB 2nd Aug 2018
Hong Kong, China will contribute USD10 million to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) Project Preparation Special Fund, according to AIIB President Jin Liqun and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

The Laos dam collapse, and the hidden costs of the Mekong's hydroelectric plans Channel NewsAsia 29th Jul 2018
Beyond concern for the undoubted human costs of the collapse of a dam in Laos, this event once again focuses attention on the long-term effect of the massive expansion of hydropower in the Mekong Basin. While international attention has tended to be directed towards existing and planned dams on the mainstream of the Mekong in China and Laos, less attention has been given to the fact that plans are in place for the construction of up to 120 dams on tributaries of the Mekong – the dam that collapsed in Attapeu province in the far south of Laos is a case in point.

Myanmar

Myanmar discusses enhancement of bilateral cooperation and relations with Lao | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 25th Jul 2018
Kyaw Tin, Minister for International Cooperation, received Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw on July 24. At the meeting, they discussed matters relating to the enhancement of bilateral cooperation and implementation of MoU on cooperation in electric power sector.

Singapore

Floods from Laos dam collapse hit Cambodia; Singapore delivers aid to worst-hit areas The Straits Times 27th Jul 2018
Thousands of Cambodians living along the banks of the Sekong River have been evacuated as a deadly torrent of water unleashed by a collapsed dam in neighbouring Laos rushed downstream. Soldiers helped ferry villagers and their motorcycles to higher ground on wooden boats in Cambodia's north-eastern province of Stung Treng, while supplies were handed out to some who found refuge on dry land.