SINGAPORE - A 17-member search and rescue contingent from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) departed for Laos on Friday morning (Aug 3).
Operation Lionheart will assist in flood relief efforts in the Attapeu province, which was devastated after the partially-built Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower dam collapsed on July 23.
At least 27 people are dead, with hundreds more missing and another 6,600 people displaced in the wake of the disaster. Countries in the region such as Cambodia have been affected as well, reportedly evacuating some 25,000 people as the floods made its way south.
The Laos government accepted Singapore's offer to assist in flood relief efforts and the SCDF team left Paya Lebar Air Base on two Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) aircraft.
They were sent off by Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development.
This is the contingent's 18th overseas deployment since 1990. The contingent is always on 24-hour standby to provide humanitarian assistance and support to countries affected by natural disasters.
The team will be led by Major Seloterio Euan Izmal, who will oversee nine officers from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, four fire and rescue specialists, two operations officers, a paramedic and a technical support officer.
Upon arrival in Laos, the contingent will work closely with the local authorities to conduct search and rescue operations.
To support its operations there, SCDF will deploy utility vehicles, as well as specialised search and rescue tools.