Floods, land­slides kill 54 in Viet­nam

Sun.Star Cebu - - WORLD -

Floods and land­slides have killed at least 54 peo­ple in Viet­nam and left another 39 miss­ing since a trop­i­cal de­pres­sion hit the coun­try ear­lier this week, in one of its worst nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in years, of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

The heavy rain in the cen­tral and north­ern re­gions dis­rupted trans­porta­tion in some ar­eas, ham­per­ing ef­forts to res­cue the miss­ing.

The storm, which hit cen­tral Viet­nam on Tues­day, also in­jured 31 peo­ple, sub­merged more than 30,000 houses, and dam­aged in­fra­struc­ture and crops, the Viet­nam Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity said in a state­ment Fri­day.

Dis­as­ter of­fi­cial Nguyen Thi Lien from north­ern Yen Bai prov­ince, where six peo­ple died from the floods, said 580 sol­diers and po­lice and more than 2,000 res­i­dents have been mo­bi­lized to search for 16 oth­ers still miss­ing in the prov­ince.

“Trans­porta­tion to and from the south­ern dis­trict of Tram Tau was cut off by land­slides and floods, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to send ad­di­tional search forces to look for six peo­ple still miss­ing there,” Lien said, adding that the search op­er­a­tions in the dis­trict are re­ly­ing on lo­cal mil­i­tary, po­lice and vil­lagers.

Another trop­i­cal de­pres­sion has been up­graded to a trop­i­cal storm, Kha­nun, which swept through the Philip­pines’ north­ern is­land of Lu­zon early Fri­day and is mov­ing in the South China Sea to­ward Viet­nam, ac­cord­ing to na­tional weather fore­cast­ers.

The storm could bring more rain and mis­ery to the cen­tral and north­ern re­gions al­ready soaked by rain and flood­wa­ters.

Viet­nam is ranked the sev­enth most dis­as­ter-prone coun­try in the world, and dis­as­ters over the past two decades have caused more than 13,000 deaths and prop­erty dam­age in ex­cess of $6.4 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Achim Fock, act­ing coun­try di­rec­tor for the World Bank in Viet­nam.

Speak­ing at a con­fer­ence in Hanoi on Fri­day mark­ing In­ter­na­tional Day for Dis­as­ter Re­duc­tion, Fock said it is time for Viet­nam to pre­pare se­ri­ously to re­duce its cli­matic vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

“If Viet­nam does not in­vest in dis­as­ter re­silience to­day, it misses an op­por­tu­nity for so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal progress that will have im­pacts for years to come,” he said, ac­cord­ing to a copy of the speech pro­vided by the World Bank./

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