Chinese medical team starts epidemic containment in southern Laos after dam collapse

Xinhua
A medical contingent from the Chinese PLA has began working on epidemic containment in shelters for victims after a dam burst triggered flash flood in southern Attapeu province.
Xinhua
AFP

A woman bathes children in the flood ravaged village in Sanamxai, Attapeu province, on July 27, 2018. 

A medical contingent from the Chinese People's Liberation Army has began working on epidemic containment in shelters for victims after a dam burst triggered flash flood in southern Attapeu province, the contingent said late Friday.

The 32-member team has been working in a makeshift shelter set up inside the Sanamxay District Middle School, such as checking drinking water, hygiene and cleanliness of portable toilets, and preventing potential epidemic outbreaks by killing mosquitoes and insects, and disinfection.

The dam that collapsed on Monday is part of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric power project which involves Lao, Thai and South Korean corporations.

Six villages in Sanamxay district of Attapeu were flooded.

There would be cases of enteric infections, insect-borne diseases and food poisoning after a disaster like this, Guo Jinpeng, head of the emergency response team of the disease control and prevention contingent, told Xinhua.

"The work to prevent any outbreak of diseases among victims should begin as soon as possible, or no later than 72 hours after the disaster," he said.

Until late Friday, some 3,000 displaced villagers have been sheltered in the Sanamxay District and the number is still increasing.

The Chinese contingent said there were cases of fever and diarrhea, which implied the possibility of an outbreak so they had to work with local authorities to prevent it and they had already submitted a proposal on disease prevention to the Lao government and Lao army.

The PLA medical contingent included medics specialized in epidemic prevention, pest control and food and drinking water hygiene, who are equipped with a disease control and prevention vehicle capable of sterilization.

The contingent, which was on the "Peace Train-2018" Humanitarian Medical Rescue Joint Training Mission in the Lao capital of Vientiane, was dispatched to the flood-hit area on Wednesday.

Lao authorities said they could only confirm one death and 131 people missing, though the Lao News Agency had reported that 26 people were killed.


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