HA NOI — Freak tornadoes swept through three southern provinces early yesterday killing two people, injuring about 75 others and destroying nearly 700 homes.
Thousands of people are reported to have been left homeless by the high-speed storms, which lasted for less than half an hour each.
In Soc Trang Province, residents reported that two tornadoes struck in one hour, killing one resident and injuring about 59 others.
At the same time, in Bac Lieu Province, a tornado took one life and injured another 12.
Four residents in Ben Tre Province were also injured by the raging wind. Bac Lieu and Ben Tre provinces have sent rescue forces to help the victims.
According to preliminary reports, Soc Trang suffered the worst damage. A total of 110 houses were completely destroyed and another 226 damaged, said a spokesman for the Soc Trang People's Committee.
In Ben Tre, a tornado destroyed 43 houses and damaged another 153, said Nguyen Khanh Hoan, head the provincial People's Committee.
Head of the Bac Lieu flood and storm control steering committee Lai Thanh An said that in two districts, Phuoc Long and Hong Dan, more than 200 houses were severely damaged by the wind.
Earlier reports said that 50 homes in the province had also been totally destroyed.
He said that in Phu Dong commune, 60 houses were damaged.
The exact damage to farming in the province is still being assessed.
The three provinces are striving to provide support for victims. One family in Soc Trang who lost a family member will receive VND4.5 million (US$210) from the Government, while those injured will receive VND3 million ($140).
Tornadoes are rare localised events in Viet Nam. The compact, rotating winds travel perhaps for 20 to 30 kilometres, but their intensity, like those in the United States, can be severe.
More heavy rain
The north can expect three or four spells of heavy rain this month, and residents should watch out for floods and landslides, especially in mountainous provinces, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecast.
Rainfall is projected to be 10-40 per cent higher than in previous years.
Meanwhile, rainfall in the coastal central provinces may be 20-40 per cent lower than in previous years, and the Central Highlands and southern provinces will also experience 10-30 per cent less rain.
The temperature in the country is forecast to differ by 0.5-1 degree Celsius from previous years. — VNS