Mr. Kikeo Chanthabouly, Chief of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, recently admitted that natural disaster stemming from global warming, such as Typhoon Ketsana, which struck southern Laos in late September, is one of many examples of the effects of climate change on Lao people' lives.
Moreover, the severe effect of this kind of natural disaster sent a ripple impact on the Lao government's poverty eradication efforts aimed at lifting Lao people out of poverty by 2015, and releasing Laos from the least-developed country status by 2020, because the disaster cost Laos several hundred billion kips in the efforts to rescue and rehabilitate the nearly 200 thousand flood victims.
In addition, the Lao government has to spend a huge chunk of its budget to repair and rebuild damaged infrastructures, water supply sources, irrigation systems, schools and government offices and buildings, which means it will definitely be more difficult for Laos to reach its goal of graduating from the least- developed countries' status as planned.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, 26% of all Lao people still live in dire poverty, with a per capita income of less than $2 per day. A 2002 survey indicated that 33.5% lived in this condition then. This means that over the course of seven years, Laos was able to reduce poverty for only 7.5% of its population due to ineffective implementation of various development projects aimed at eradicating poverty in the country.
During the just-ended 2008-2009 fiscal year, the Lao government reported spent over 296 billion kips, or almost $35 million, to implement various poverty eradication projects.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on November 30, 2009. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao. (English translation by Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam.)