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Cablegate: Disaster Declaration for Flooding in Laos

O 010956Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2801
INFO ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS VIENTIANE 000469


STATE FOR G
STATE FOR EAP/MLS
STATE FOR EAP/RSP
STATE FOR EAP/EP
STATE FOR INR
STATE FOR OES/STC
STATE FOR OES/IHA
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR OFDA
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA ROBERT THAYER
AID/W FOR ANE
BANGKOK FOR USAID/OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR A. DWYER
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (LSTERN)
BANGKOK FOR CDC (MALONEY AND ZIMMERMAN)
BANGKOK FOR USAID (JMACARTHUR, BOWLES, AND ROGERS)
PACOM FOR SURGEON'S OFFICE (COL. MACHESKY)
PACOM FOR J52 (LACY)
PACOM FOR PACAF/SGZ (Cinco, Palmer)
JPAC FOR MUNIPALLI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON SENV EWWT EAID CASC ASEC LA
SUBJECT: DISASTER DECLARATION FOR FLOODING IN LAOS

Refs: A) Telcon (Daley-Dwyer)
B) 07 STATE 142452


1. This is an action request. In view of the mounting reports of
damage caused by flooding in Attapu, Xekong, and Saravan provinces
in Laos and in response to the September 30, 2009, appeal of the
Government of Laos to the international community for assistance,
the Ambassador has determined that a disaster exists, that the
disaster is of such a magnitude that the Lao government is not able
to respond adequately, that the Lao government desires assistance,
and that providing such assistance is in the USG interest. The
Embassy requests $50,000 in Ambassador's Authority Funds as
discussed with USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor (Ref A).

2. During the evening of September 29 and morning of September 30,
the remnants of Typhoon Ketsana passed over Laos' southern provinces
of Attapu, Xekong, and Saravan. Initial reports indicate that
roughly one-quarter of Saravan municipality flooded, and many
surrounding villages, especially along the Xekong River, also
flooded. In Xekong province, at least 30 villages were destroyed by
flooding. Two villages can only be reached by boat, and authorities
have not yet been able to reach them to make an assessment. Attapu
province also reports flooded areas.

3. Post has received no reports of affected AmCits, and there are
no reports of deaths as of Noon, October 1. The flood waters have
begun to recede, though numerous families will be left homeless and
without adequate food or water. In Saravan province, the Provincial
Disaster Committee has organized three teams to assist in disaster
relief, and the MND deployed a helicopter for an aerial survey.

4. In accordance with Ref B. and the U.S. Mission Disaster Relief
Plan, the Ambassador has determined that a contribution of 50,000
USD should be made to the Lao Red Cross to help meet the immediate
emergency needs of flood affected populations. This assistance
would fund the purchase of food and non-food items. Additional
assistance may be necessary. Post will continue to monitor the
situation and reevaluate our assistance as more information becomes
available. Post appreciates advice and support from USAID's Office
of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).


Huso

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