Ten reported missing in Laos after Ketsana storm
Thu, Oct 01, 2009

HANOI, VIETNAM - About 10 people were reported missing in Laos after Tropical Storm Ketsana caused flooding in the country's south, aid workers said Thursday.

"We have received informal reports of 10 people missing in southernmost Attapeu province", said Henry Braun, CARE's director for Laos.

Another aid worker, with staff based in Attapeu, told AFP: "There are people missing, yes." She put the figure at nine or 10.

Detailed information from the area has been difficult to obtain, they said.

United Nations sources, quoting reports from the southern region, said no deaths have been reported after Ketsana passed through on Wednesday.

Government spokesman Khenthong Nuanthasing said rescue teams were having difficulty accessing the area.

The UN sources said the Sekong River running through Sekong province was still 13 to 15 metres (43-50 feet) above normal level but had dropped from 20 metres above normal a day earlier.

They said about 14 villages along the riverbanks have been flooded and authorities have been unable to reach close to 200 people cut off in Sekong district.

Braun, who has staff in Sekong, said about 27 villages were affected but it was still unclear how many people would need food, shelter, water and clothing.

"We really don't know, for example, how many houses in the villages are destroyed," said Braun, whose agency is gearing up to supply aid to the area.

Sekong is adjacent to Attapeu, which is on the border of Cambodia where Ketsana killed at least 14 people after leaving 92 dead in Vietnam.

Attapeu town was "totally cut off", said the other aid worker whose local staff in the town reported floodwaters two metres deep.

She declined to be named.

Both Braun and the aid worker are based in Vientiane, capital of the country which is one of Asia's poorest.

Ketsana has brought devastation across Southeast Asia since killing 277 people in the Philippines last weekend.

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