Weeks after a dam collapse devastated a community in Laos, a baby boy was found to have survived the disaster and is now safe and sound.
The Laos dam disaster on July 22nd devastated the local community, leaving thousands homeless, 36 dead and 98 missing. A wall at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapsed due to heavier than usual monsoon rain, cascading millions of tonnes of water into nearby villages in the Champasak and Attapeu provinces. As search and rescue operations continued to be ongoing, it was highly unlikely that anyone else would be found alive – which made the remarkable discovery of a baby boy that much more spectacular.
American father-of-four Michael Alfaro made the shocking discovery after traveling from his home in Plainfield, Illinois to lend a hand in the efforts. Michael and his team were concentrating on a particular village that was being targeted by human traffickers when they stumbled across the naked, crying baby boy. The child was starving, dehydrated and hours from death when they discovered him in an abandoned building in the small town of Sanamaxai.
Luckily for the child, Michael put his marine training to good use and carried the youngster 1 kilometer to the nearest medical team in sweltering temperatures. Two emergency IV drips later, and the baby was responding well. Thankfully, the baby is expected to make a full recovery, something Michael puts down to being in the right place at the right time.
“I saw what looked like an empty building and wasn’t expecting to see people inside,” said Alfaro. “I thought it was best to check and there was the baby on the ground in a blanket.” Surprisingly, the child’s mother was in the same vicinity, as were her other two children who were taking shelter in a separate part of the building. For unknown reasons, the infant had been left alone. It’s thought that the father sadly perished in the floods.
With the amount of devastation, Michael believes that the number of dead may be much higher than currently reported, leaning more toward 1,000. Volunteers like Alfaro are a vital resource to the local community. The area will likely feel the effects of the dam burst for months, if not years, to come. The story of this infant's survival provides a glimmer of hope in an area of the world that is suffering greatly after this disaster.