Viet­nam flood­ing kills at least 37

The Phnom Penh Post - - FRONT PAGE - Tran Thi Minh Ha

AT LEAST 37 peo­ple have died and an­other 40 are miss­ing as floods and land­slides rav­age north and cen­tral Viet­nam, de­stroy­ing homes and leav­ing res­cuers scram­bling to find sur­vivors, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

Tens of thou­sands were evac­u­ated af­ter heavy rains lashed swathes of the coun­try this week, as fore­cast­ers warned of more bad weather to come.

North­ern Hoa Binh prov­ince is the hard­est hit with 11 dead and 21 miss­ing, prompt­ing a state of emer­gency to be de­clared.

“We are mo­bil­is­ing all forces to search for the miss­ing,” a dis­as­ter of­fi­cial said by phone, de­clin­ing to be named.

Res­cue ef­forts were ham­pered as water and mud sub­merged roads in sev­eral ar­eas, in­clud­ing in Hoa Binh, where eight peo­ple died in an overnight land­slide. “Peo­ple

should be evac­u­ated from dan­ger­ous ar­eas, the safety of peo­ple and their be­long­ings must be en­sured,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Trinh Dinh Dung said on state-run Viet­nam tele­vi­sion.

A ter­ri­fied res­i­dent de­scribed se­vere flood­ing in an­other part of the prov­ince.

“The flash flood was ter­ri­ble. Water poured down from the hill, like a surge 3 me­tres high. Traf­fic has been blocked be­cause of the floods,” Phan Ba Dien told state-con­trolled VNEx­press news site.

A jour­nal­ist from Viet­nam News Agency re­port­ing on the storm was swept away along with four other peo­ple as an over­flow­ing river de­mol­ished a bridge in north­ern Yen Bai prov­ince on Wed­nes­day.

One sur­vived and au­thor­i­ties were still look­ing for the other four yes­ter­day.

Im­ages on state me­dia showed peo­ple wad­ing through kneedeep wa­ters and tracts of forests that had been wiped out by land­slides. Road ac­cess was com­pletely cut off in some ar­eas.

“Water was just rush­ing down­stream . . . it’s been a long time since I wit­nessed that kind of flood­ing in moun­tain­ous ar­eas. I didn’t feel safe driv­ing at night, it was scary,” Hanoi res­i­dent NguyenVu Ngoc, who was in the north on Wed­nes­day, said.

The dis­as­ter has killed 37 peo­ple in six prov­inces, with more than 18,800 houses dam­aged or de­stroyed along with tens of thou­sands of hectares of farm­land,Viet­nam Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Author­ity said.

Of­fi­cials said they were fo­cused on res­cu­ing dozens of miss­ing peo­ple yes­ter­day as rain sub­sided in most ar­eas.

Res­i­dents fer­ried fur­ni­ture and other be­long­ings over flooded roads in Son La prov­ince, where houses were de­mol­ished and elec­tric­ity poles torn down.

At least 400 mil­lime­tres of rain have swamped north­ern and cen­tral Viet­nam since Sun­day, the coun­try’s dis­as­ter agency has said.

Viet­nam is rou­tinely hit with se­vere weather, with nearly 170 peo­ple killed or miss­ing in dis­as­ters so far this year. Last year, nearly 250 were killed or re­ported miss­ing in weath­er­re­lated dis­as­ters.

A mas­sive ty­phoon slammed into the cen­tral coast last month, killing 11 peo­ple and dev­as­tat­ing en­tire towns.

Fore­cast­ers said a trop­i­cal de­pres­sion east of the Philip­pines is ex­pected to en­ter the South China Sea and strengthen in the next few days as it heads to­ward Viet­nam.

WEEK­END – PAGES 9-12 WORLD

ROBYN BECK/AFP

Men wade through a flooded area in the cen­tral prov­ince of Nghe An. At least 37 peo­ple have died and an­other 40 are miss­ing af­ter floods and land­slides hit north and cen­tral Viet­nam.

ROBYN BECK/AFP

A farmer car­ries a sack with coca leaves in a field next to the river Inirida in the Guaviare Depart­ment, Colom­bia, on Septem­ber 25.

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