Floods kill at least 43 in Vietnam - Taipei Times
Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Floods kill at least 43 in Vietnam

STILL MISSING:A journalist reporting on the tropical storm was swept away along with four other people as an overflowing river demolished a bridge in Yen Bai Province


Men wade through a flooded area in Nghe An Province, Vietnam, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP / Vietnam News Agency

At least 43 people have died and another 34 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 nation this week, as forecasters warned of more bad weather to come.

Northern Hoa Binh is the hardest hit with 17 dead and 15 missing, prompting a state of emergency to be declared.

“We are mobilizing all forces to search for the missing,” a disaster official said by telephone, 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,” Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said on state-run 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 3m high. Traffic has been blocked because of the floods,” Phan Ba Dien told the VNExpress news site.

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

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

Images on state media showed people wading through knee-deep waters and tracts of forest 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 traveling in the north on Wednesday.

The disaster has killed 43 people in six provinces, with more than 18,800 houses damaged or destroyed, along with tens of thousands of hectares of farmland, the Vietnamese Disaster Management Authority said.

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

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

At least 400mm of rain have swamped northern and central Vietnam since Sunday, the disaster agency said.

Vietnam is routinely hit with severe weather, with more than 170 people killed or missing in disasters so far this year.

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

Last year, nearly 250 people were killed or reported missing in weather-related disasters.

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.

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