Vee still cries every day over the loss of her son and grandson after a flood destroyed their village in southern Laos in July 2018.
While her five-year-old grandson’s body has since been recovered, the mother of seven is still mourning the absence of her son, whom she last saw drifting in the water with her grandson.
“It has been a terrible nightmare,” Vee says. “I think about my son and my grandson every day. I cry and I can’t sleep, because when I close my eyes I see terrible images in my mind.”
It was about 9 or 10pm when water first began creeping into the house, Vee remembers.
She thought the water wouldn’t reach the second floor but it continued to rise, forcing Vee and her family to flee the house.
They piled into an old boat and hung onto a tree, when the power in the village suddenly cut off. “There was a lot of noise and people began shouting very loudly,” Vee says.
Parts of homes and people’s possessions floated all around them. Suddenly, a large log smashed into the boat, hitting her daughter’s face and knocking her grandson into the water. “My son jumped out of the boat to save him,” Vee says. “He carried my grandson up to the surface and both of them were floating.
“That was the last I saw of them.”