(KPL) A family at Keosenkham village, in Bolikhamxay’s Khamkeut district, is able to start rebuilding its house following a fire that took their home away in May.

On Jun 20 the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) handed over construction materials worth 24 million kip (US$2,800) to the family of Mr Somsack, a farmer in the village.

Mr Somsack’s family moved to Keosenkham in 2011 as part of the resettlement programme for the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project.

Each family moving to the new village received cash compensation, a good quality new house with garden and land title, plus agricultural land and access to improved utilities and public services including a school and health centre.

The family was benefitting from expanding market links in the area until the fire struck and left them homeless. “Suddenly life became very difficult for us”, said Mr Somsack. “We had ten people living in the house. Things looked hopeless and we had no idea what to do”.

Keosenkham village authority contacted THPC and asked if assistance could be provided to the family. “Officially we have no obligation in such cases,” said Mr Soulideth Baomanikhoth, Deputy General Manager of THPC. “Each family owns its own house and land, and THPC has already met its responsibilities in terms of providing infrastructure and livelihoods opportunities”.

“However”, said Mr Soulideth, “Mr Somsack is well known as an active community member who played a key role in consultations during the resettlement period, helping villagers to understand the expansion project and the advantages and process involved in moving to the new village at Keosenkham. Given his contribution to the community, and the fact that his family would struggle to get back what fate had taken away from them, THPC was able to find the money to assist”.

“My family will always be grateful to our relatives in the village who have put us up in this difficult time” said Mr Somsack, “and to the management of THPC, who have rescued us from misery”. 

 THPC operates the Theun-Hinboun and Nam Gnouang Powerhouses in Khammouane and Bolikhamxay provinces, with a combined capacity of 520 megawatts.

THPC is the only independent power producer that is majority Lao-owned and 99% of its staff are Lao nationals. 

THPC has contributed over US$608 million to the state since beginning operations in 1998.