The Drowned Dreams

Visarut Sankham
3 min readMar 9, 2019


The photographic accounted for the lost beyond government report from one of the most devasted dam collapsed in Asia

On 23 July 2018 Xepian Xe Namnoy hydropower dam in Lao was collapsed. The collapsed of soon-to-be one of many electronic generated dams has not even shaken the dream of Lao government to become “Battery of Asia” even the damage marked as one of the most disasters for Laotian as the Lao government estimate around 72 million USD.

I went to Attapue province as part of a journalist team from Thailand to cover the aftermath of this disaster. And spend two weeks working in the filed. one day one of our key-informants tell us what is he supposed to do if this unfortunate event does not happen. That’s sparked me the idea of the hidden cost that did not count in Lao government summary report.

The hidden cost that did not count is the local’s dreams that were washed away by the flood after the dam collapsed. Therefore, these photographs were dedicated to accounting the lost dream of local in pursuit of the government’s dream.

38-years-old Pae Sripasert the mother of 3 children, she dreams to send her children to a good school. But after the dam collapsed she had no income and all of her saving lost during the flood
54-year-old Rin Chaiyachu dreamed of building a new house after months of preparing materials. But the flood washes out all of his money and material that he gathered
15-year-old Sat dreamed of owning the biggest fighting cock farm in his province. He owns more than 150 chickens before the flood but after the dam collapsed all of his chicken were gone
47-year-old Bunnung Srinun dreamed to do sweet potato plantation on land that he just inherited from his father while he also plans to sell his 10-years-old rosewood tree. But everything is all gone after the flood. Now he stays in Bin Dong temporary camp where he sleeps in the tents along with his wife and son.
68-year-old Keam dreamed to build a new kitchen as a new extension outside her old house. She got everything prepared including woods and cement bags as she planned to start the building in December. However, the flood washed all of her prepared materials.
32-year-old Suphap Rajawong dreamed of owning a sawmill after years of saving as he worked in various factories in Thailand. He just returned home and all of his saving and dreams washed out after the dam collapsed.
15-year-old Chang dreamed of study in Ban Hit Lath school where is the nearest to his house after graduated from primary school. However, the flood destroyed his new school and now he has to spend 3–4 hours on a bicycle traveling to a new school every week. The inconvenience of traveling to school led to many children dropped out.
48-year-old Baisree Pasaraksa dream to open now clothing shop in her village with her daughter who just came back from working aboard. But know that dream has to be held at all of their saving gone during the flood and her daughter now have to go to work in Banana plantation in the city.
50-year-old Werapun Chaipothisit dreamed of owing animal farm. After spending most of his youth and adult life driving a delivery truck around the country, 3 years ago he just decided to retired from truck driving and sell his truck to invest pigs and goats for his new farm. But the flood has wash out all his plants and animal.
51-year-old Chan Srichanon dreamed of spending her life in the farm taking care of her sweet potato and paddy fields. But now all of her fields were filled with mud from the flood and not able to plant anything.

Visarut Sankham is a photographer based in Thailand who interested in representation, gaze, migration, and social justic



Visarut Sankham

a photographer based in Thailand who interested in representation, gaze, migration, and social justice. website :