Laos. A large pond collapsed in southern Laos on July 23
and at least 30 people died. Dozens were reported missing
while several thousand people became homeless downstream in
Champassak and Attapeu provinces. Construction managers
claimed that heavy monsoon rains were a contributing cause
of the accident, while government officials thought the
construction was deficient.
Countryaah.com, Laos plans to construct 140 dams, mostly in tributaries
to the Mekong River, to expand hydropower and become
Southeast Asia's "battery" and export electric power to
neighboring China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Floods caused by the monsoon rains also affected other
provinces. Agriculture, housing, schools and other
infrastructure were destroyed.
In July, the UN Human Rights Council criticized Laos for
enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, deficiencies in
freedom of speech and assembly, conditions in prisons, the
right to vote and how minorities are treated. It was the
Council's first review of Laos since the country adopted in
2009 the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political