VIENTIANE, 27 July 2018 –Secretary-General of ASEAN and ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator Dato Lim Jock Hoi today paid courtesy calls on Lao PDR’s Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Khampheng Saysompheng following the flash floods triggered by the collapse of the saddle dam in Attapeu province earlier this week. He was accompanied by Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee and Executive Director of AHA Centre Adelina Kamal.

Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi expressed his condolence for the loss of lives, the displacement of families and the severe damages to agriculture following the flash floods. He commended the Government of the Lao PDR for the immediate evacuation as well as search and rescue measures to alleviate the suffering of the people in the affected provinces.

Earlier today, ASEAN relief items including mobile storage unit, aluminum boats, family tents, and personal hygiene kits for the affected community were handed over to the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Lao PDR Kamkeo Sambounkhoun.

Dato Lim, Deputy Secretary-General Vongthep and the ministers deliberated on how ASEAN can further support the government of Lao PDR to ensure those affected by the disaster would get the much-needed assistance in the most dignified way.

“As a caring and sharing community that breathes humanity, I wish to reassure you that ASEAN will never leave you behind. We will work with you side by side so as to strive toward speedy rehabilitation, even at times against all odds,” said the Secretary-General.

Both ministers Saleumxay Kommasith and Khampheng Saysompheng expressed their appreciation for the swift support from ASEAN. Minister Kommasith said, “with the support from ASEAN, we hope to ‘build back better’ for the affected community.” Meanwhile, Minister Saysompheng shared that many people have been evacuated and family kits are very useful for affected families as shelter remains one of the most critical needs.

During the courtesy calls, Dato Lim also stressed the important role of all stakeholders, particularly the private sector, in lending a helping hand to render assistance to those in need.

“It is indispensable that we strengthen public-private partnership so as to invest in preventing disasters. Only through such endeavor can we expect to protect the gains of sustainable development,” said Dato Lim.

The flash floods hit 373 villages, 49 districts in ten provinces, affecting around 1.5 million people with 27 deaths. It has also impacted neighbouring Cambodia. For more updates on the flood situation, please visit: https://bit.ly/2LUJH4j

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