Floods, land­slides kill 37 in Viet­nam, scores miss­ing amid tor­ren­tial rains

The Nation - - THAILAND | ASEAN PLUS -

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, disas­ter 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 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 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 three 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 knee-deep 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,” said Hanoi res­i­dent Nguyen Vu Ngoc, who was trav­el­ling in the north on Wed­nes­day.

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 stand at the end of a de­stroyed bridge in the north­ern prov­ince of Yen Bai on Wed­nes­day. At least 37 peo­ple have died and an­other 40 are miss­ing after floods and land­slides rav­aged north­ern and cen­tral Viet­nam.

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