Hundreds still remain unaccounted for in the thick mud and flood waters of Attapeu and Champasak, two provinces in southern Lao PDR where the failure of an auxiliary dam sent a torrent of water gushing down on 13 villages downstream.
Mountainous and landlocked Lao PDR, known as the "Battery of Asia", is building dozens of dams at breakneck speed so it can sell energy to power-hungry neighbours as a fast track out of poverty.
Hundreds are missing and an unknown number feared dead after a partly built hydropower dam in southeast Lao PDR collapsed after heavy rain and sent a wall of water surging through six villages, state media and contractors said Tuesday.
The Mekong is Southeast Asia’s lifeblood, pumping life into some of the region’s biggest cities. It is the seventh longest river in Asia and the 12th longest in the world.
Last month, the United Nations Committee for Development Policy announced that Lao PDR had fulfilled the criteria to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status for the first time.
Hydropower in Southeast Asia holds much promise. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), hydropower capacity in the region grew almost threefold from 16 GW to 44 GW between 2000 and 2016.
According to a World Bank report on Lao in 2017, the country pleasantly surprised many by becoming one of the fastest growing in the region. The World Bank even ranked Lao as the 13th fastest growing economy of 2016.
Among all the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar lags behind in terms of electricity connectivity to the national grid.