Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

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Vientiane flooding

Posted by Dongphuvieng on 15/8/2008 at 11:32

A quick note to report that Vientiane is suffering its worst flooding since 1923. That means the water has broken the banks of the Mekong and riverside areas are under some water. Places further east are affected more seriously than the riverfront area in the centre of town. So if you're in Vang VIeng or Luang Prabang and thinking of having an extra day before you come to Vte, it's not a bad idea.

#1 Dongphuvieng has been a member since 18/10/2006. Posts: 7

Posted by zoe83 on 15/8/2008 at 17:59

I'm in Vang Vieng now, was hoping to come to Vientiane in a couple of days time and then on to 4000 Islands...

Can you shed any light on a few rumours?
-I hear the road towards Pakse is closed, is that true? And would the flooding be worse or not so bad down at 4000 Islands?
-I was also told that the road from Vientiane to Bangkok was closed, and the only way to leave Vientiane is to fly. (This from a guy who sells plane tickets..!). If I can't go towards Pakse, surely I can at least travel back into Thailand?

Any info?


#2 zoe83 has been a member since 15/8/2008. Posts: 2

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Posted by Dongphuvieng on 15/8/2008 at 18:13

Hi Zoe,
I'm not sure about the roads outside of Vte, though even if they are closed I'd think it wouldn't be for too long. I'd probably go to Vte and reassess when you get there. Heading south from there, you can cross into Thailand at Tha Khek, Savanakhet and Pakse, so should be able to get across somewhere. In the meantime, check out and keep an eye on the Thai news sites.
Chok dee.

#3 Dongphuvieng has been a member since 18/10/2006. Posts: 7

Posted by somsai on 16/8/2008 at 04:14

From Friday's newspaper it sounds like there has been at least a temporary closing of the road N to Luang Prabang due to landslide. Lots of flooding of route 13 down in Bourinkhamxay also.

Here's the cut and paste.

Much of the VT today - 15th Aug 2008 - is taken up with stories about
the flooding. A selection below:

*Sandbag wall finished today*

Authorities will today finish building a 2.5-metre high wall of
sandbags to protect central Vientiane from the rising Mekong River.

Construction of this wall was initiated to protect the city as
forecasters predicted the river level could rise to 14.2m on Saturday.
This prediction was revised yesterday and the river is no longer
expected to rise to 14m in the capital. The work will be completed

Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh yesterday visited Bo-O and other
flooded villages in Vientiane .

The Vientiane Flooding and Drought Prevention Committee's Secretariat
Head, Vilasack Nammounty, said the level of the Mekong River remained
at 13.65m between 11am and 1pm yesterday. But it had risen to 13.68m
by 3pm.

“You know, the water in Luang Prabang province is going down so it may
reach Vientiane tomorrow or the day after,” he told Vientiane Times

According to the department, the river will rise to 13.85m today in
Vientiane and decrease to 13.72m tomorrow. It will still be above the
danger level of 12.5m.

“We will try as hard as we can to avoid the water flooding our
capital, so we will not stop building the 2.5m sandbag wall,” Mr
Vilasack said.

“After we finish building that wall we will wait and see what the
situation is like.”

On Wednesday night, almost 100 people from the Ministry of Information
and Culture were assigned to work overnight building a sandbag wall
near the Mekong River Commission, including Vientiane Times staff.

Some houses and offices have built their own sandbag walls as
protection against flooding.

The riverside has been filled with people coming to see the level of
the river and police have blocked riverside roads to make it easier
for trucks delivering sand.

Some residents, especially those living near the riverbank, feared the
water level would increase, spill over the sandbag wall and flood
their houses.

Vientiane experienced its worst flooding in 1966. That year the water
level was just over 12m, but the banks of the river were not
reinforced to prevent flooding like they are now.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update August 15, 2008)


*Flooding cuts electricity in Luang Prabang*

Electricity has been cut in the world heritage town of Luang Prabang
after the Mekong River burst its banks and flooded parts of the city,
a senior official said yesterday.

Luang Prabang Anti-Flooding Committee Head, Mr Khampheng Saysompheng,
said three of the villages without electricity were in the world
heritage zone.

“More than 100 families have no electricity now,” Mr Khampheng said.

“But they have gas and charcoal to cook with and are using candles for
lighting their houses in place of electricity,” he said.

About 236 families have been moved to higher ground where local
authorities have provided them with tents, food and clean water.

More than 400 hectares of rice fields had been flooded, including 72
hectares which was damaged, according to Mr Khampheng, who is also the
Deputy Governor of Luang Prabang.

A number of dikes have been damaged and Road Number 13 North to
Vientiane has been cut off due to a landslide.

“We don't have enough gasoline for use in our town at the moment and
that is having a large impact on the provincial economy,” he said.

But he said the price of food in markets remained manageable and the
province had prepared a plan to revive the local economy.

The water level of the river at Luang Prabang decreased yesterday
morning to 19.96m, still 1.96 above the danger level. Local
authorities remained concerned about a further increase in the water
level as it was still rising in the northern province of Bokeo.

In Vientiane , the water level in the Mekong continued to increase
yesterday morning to 13.63m, 1.13m above the danger mark of 12.50m. It
is expected to increase to 13.85m today but should drop to 13.72m

At Pakxan village in Borikhamxay province, the water level rose from
14.26m to 14.60m yesterday, 0.10m above the danger level. It is
forecast to increase to 15.10m today and 15.50m tomorrow.

Borikhamxay Anti-Flooding Committee Head, Mr Leuam Sonsyvilay said
Road Number 13 South had flooded at seven locations in the province,
causing traffic difficulties.

A number of roads linking districts were also cut off.

“The main task of our province now is to help villagers. We need to
supply clean water to flooded villagers,” Mr Leuam said.

The urban areas of Sivilay village have been flooded, forcing
villagers to move their property to higher ground.

Mr Leuam said about 6,500 hectares of rice fields had been flooded in
Borikhan, Pakxan, Thaphabath and Pakkading villages.

The water level is expected to increase slightly in Khammuan,
Savannakhet, and Champassak provinces, but it is not anticipated to
reach dangerous levels in the next two days.

In Khammuan province, the water level reached 13.52m yesterday
morning, lower than the danger mark of 14m. It is predicted to
increase to 13.59m today and 13.63m tomorrow.

Officials said more than 6,000 hectares of rice fields had been
flooded in Khammuan province as well as the urban district of Mahaxay.

In Savannakhet, the water level reached 11.26m yesterday morning. The
danger level there is 13m. River levels in the town should increase to
11.30m today and 11.35m tomorrow.

In Champassak, the water level reached 11.10m yesterday morning, below
a danger mark of 12m. The level will increase to 11.47m today and
11.70m tomorrow.

#4 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 566
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Posted by madz on 18/8/2008 at 14:20

Im heading to Laos on 2nd Sept. Whats the flooding issue like in Vang Vieng?? Hopefully the roads wont be closed from LP to VV :(

#5 madz has been a member since 16/5/2008. Posts: 6

Posted by genkikuma on 21/8/2008 at 17:03

Im heading into Laos on 23 Aug at Huay Xai.
Any idea if the slow boats/ buses are going south to Luang Prabang?

#6 genkikuma has been a member since 21/8/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by search333 on 21/8/2008 at 17:03

Any updates on Vientiane flooding? I am currently in Udon Thani debating on proceeding to Laos or return to Bangkok.

#7 search333 has been a member since 10/8/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by genkikuma on 21/8/2008 at 17:13

Looks like it should be ok.

Im gonna go anyway and see what happens!!�

#8 genkikuma has been a member since 21/8/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by zoe83 on 21/8/2008 at 22:41

I left Vientiane yesterday afternoon and although the sandbags are still in place no-one seemed too worried that the river would burst its banks. The riverside restaurants are still open etc. If you go to the Buddha Park though, take some flip-flops you don't mind getting wet - it's a little flooded there and we waded above our knees at some points :)
In Vang Vieng you wouldn't even know there was a problem - tubing was going ahead as normal!

#9 zoe83 has been a member since 15/8/2008. Posts: 2

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