Peter Evans’ brilliantly descriptive report on the rising Mekong in Vientiane:

“The city itself (where I live and work) is protected to some extent by a levee bank. If that weren’t there the city would be flooded now.”

“there were amazing scenes today as the whole population seemed to spring into action. The levee bank has now got a wall of sandbags on top of it. Not sure that this will make a whole lot of difference. But it was certainly reassuring to see plenty of action. Roads were blocked off by the police as truckload after truckload of sand was carted to the river bank and then teams of locals working at strategic intervals along the river bank filled bags with sand. There was almost a carnival atmosphere, as the volunteers went about there work in the drizzly rain.”

“even if the city does flood, the MRC says the water level will recede in a day or two and things will then get back to normal.”

“Also not sure of the effectiveness of the new sandbag “wall” as this will depend on the weakest and lowest points in the structure and by my reckoning there were lots of those. In one case they had left a 2m gap in the wall so that people could still get through to a riverside restaurant that continued to operate – with no sign of the sandbags that would be used to close the “gate” when the time came.”