NATIONAL

S. Korea mulls restoration support for flood-hit Laos

By Ock Hyun-ju
  • Published : Jul 30, 2018 - 16:02
  • Updated : Jul 30, 2018 - 16:05
The South Korean government is considering offering more support to Laos in the aftermath of a dam collapse that has left at least 27 killed and 131 missing, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. 

(Yonhap)

The project was being conducted by a consortium involving Korean firms.

“We are reviewing whether to send extra emergency relief and emergency personnel,” a Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

“We will additionally review whether humanitarian aid will be extended to the next stage, restoration work.”

A South Korean emergency relief team began a 10-day mission in the southern province of Attapeu on Sunday. In addition, Seoul has committed to providing $500,000 in cash and $500,000 worth of items for the relief efforts.

“As for the restoration support, we will take into account factors usually considered in carrying out official development assistance projects -- such as bilateral relations and the country’s conditions and its restoration capability,” the official said.

“The decision will not have anything to do with South Korean companies’ presence or the prospect of South Korean firms making inroads into the country,” she said.

The auxiliary dam of a joint venture hydroelectric project gave way Monday after days of torrential rains.

Laotian authorities are investigating whether the dam’s collapse was caused by the heavy rains or by structural faults, amid concerns that poor construction technique may have led to the accident.

With the incident rekindling concerns about the environmental impact South Korea-led official development assistance project may have, the Foreign Ministry said it will make it mandatory to conduct studies to check environmental impact of ODA projects starting in 2020.

The ministry is in charge of providing grants to developing and underdeveloped countries through the Korea International Cooperation Agency.

(laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)


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