Villagers across the country have been moved, some several times, to make way for dams whose benefits are mainly enjoyed outside of the country, campaigners say. More than 6 thousand residents of the eight surrounding villages are now homeless.
When the dam failed, around 0.5 billion cubic meters of water was unleashed, according to KPL.
More than 6,000 people lost their homes when the South Korean-built Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower facility gave way in Attapeu province on Monday, devastating surrounding villages.
The dam is a project of the Vientiane based joint venture, the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy Power Company (PNPC) costing around Dollars 1.2 billion.
Lao villagers evacuate on a boat in a village near the Attapeu province.
The South Korean partner in the hydropower project said Wednesday it discovered the upper part of the structure had washed away 24 hours before it collapsed.
A United Nations report on the disaster put the death toll at five with 34 missing, 1,494 evacuated and 11,777 people in 357 villages affected.
At least 20 have died and 100 people are missing, according to the BBC.
The Lao government declared the flooded area an emergency disaster zone on Tuesday.
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The fire was deliberately set, authorities say, by a 32-year-old Temecula man Wednesday afternoon. Helicopters and planes dumped water and fire retardant on the area.
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A Laos government official told CNN that he expects the water level to decrease in the coming days and that people will be able to return to their villages.
Laos, they argue, is giving up its natural wealth to construct dams that would primarily benefit people in faraway cities such as Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. The collapsed dam had planned to begin operating by 2019.
Villagers wait in a temporary shelter after fleeing floods caused by the dam collapse.
The $1.02 billion project encompassing several river basins in a remote corner of southeastern Laos is the first hydroelectric dam to be built by a South Korean company, and it was unclear how severe the damage would be to the overall plan.
SK E&C sent its president to Laos and set up an emergency team in Seoul, South Korea's Yonhap News agency reported.
"This dam did not collapse because of the overwhelming water level in the reservoir, as the Lao officials and the project owners tried to explain", Chainarong stressed.
According to International Rivers, an environmental advocacy group, the current Lao hydropower development plan includes 72 new large dams, 12 of which are under construction and almost 25 in advanced planning stages.
The Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy project - a joint venture between SK Engineering, Thailand's Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Pcl, Korea Western Power Co. and the Laos government - is one of a number seeking to tap the country's hydropower potential, an engine of economic growth Laos relies on to help reduce poverty.
Maureen Harris, an expert on Laotian dams at the International Rivers NGO, said the flooding raised questions about the standard and safety of dams within the country.