Some say it will transform the economy of Laos. Others maintain it will cause environmental ruin. The Xayaburi Dam is one of the most controversial building projects South-East Asia has ever seen.
The Mekong River is a lifeline to many communities in Southeast Asia. But an ongoing drought and dozens of hydroelectric power plants are lowering water levels and damaging a fragile ecosystem.
The dam collapse released some 5 billion cubic meters of water onto villages, reportedly leaving hundreds of people missing and killing an unknown number. Structural damage had been discovered before the breach occured.
The Xepian-Xe Nam Noy Dam in Laos has burst due to heavy rain. Hundreds of people are missing and many feared dead. Opponents of Laos's plans to become the "battery of Asia" have warned of catastrophe for years.
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