A Lao People’s Army rescue team on Saturday night saved all 45 Vietnamese passengers traveling in 22 vehicles stuck on National Highway No. 8, which links Vietnam’s Ha Tinh Province with Laos’ Bolikhamxay Province, due to landslides.
The landslides, taking place from August 3, caused traffic disruptions on the highway, one of the major roads connecting central Vietnam with central Laos, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
As the landslides struck both ends of the road, drivers and passengers were unable to find a way out.
They found it difficult to reach out for help due to poor mobile signal in the mountainous area.
A Lao Ministry of National Defense rescue team led by Deputy Minister Lieutenant General Chanthong Sonetaat arrived at the scene of the landslides to rescue the stranded, according to a representative of the Vietnamese attaché office in Laos.
As of Saturday night, all of the 45 Vietnamese citizens were rescued, with 35 sent to Bolikhamxay’s Khamkert District and the rest taken to Khounkham District in Laos’ Khammouane Province for medical care.
Their health conditions are improving.
The Vietnam News Agency added that all passenger vehicles which were en route from Laos to Vietnam but were stuck on the landslide-hit road made a U-turn and headed to the Chalo border gate to enter Vietnam.
On August 4, the Department of Public Works and Transport in Bolikhamxay Province announced that National Highway No. 8 was temporarily closed until further notice owing to landslides, the Laotian Times reported.
The closures affected an 8km stretch in the Phu Pha Man area and a 10km section in the Phu Hay area.
Heavy rains triggered flooding and landslides in some places, making the road impassable.
The Lao department said that the closures could last for several days and vehicles were advised to take alternate routes in the meantime.
Heavy downpours this year have affected and damaged roads across Laos, causing damage to homes, farmland, roads, and daily activities.