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President visits flood region

Update: August, 05/2015 - 09:25
President Truong Tan Sang (in dark blue) visited Quang Ninh Province yesterday to overhaul activities to address the consequences of the torrential rains and flooding over the last few days.—VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang

QUANG NINH (VNS) — President Truong Tan Sang spoke up about the record floods that hit the coastal province of Quang Ninh, killing 17 and injuring another 30.

In a field trip to the flooded province yesterday, the President referred to the "weak side" of disaster prevention work in the province that had only surfaced during the unprecedented rains.

Sang said the provincial drainage systems to the sea should be guaranteed against flooding. He added that the impacts of natural disasters should always be considered when planning resettlement buildings and open-cut coal mines.

Sang visited two coal companies to check the impacts of flooding. The mining sites of Nui Beo Coal Company in Ha Long City and the Cam Pha City-based Mong Duong Coal Company were still under water, indicating that opertations are not likely to resume in the near future.

About 40 to 80 per cent of workers of the mines - about 30,000 - have been forced to stop work until the situation is rectified.

The flooding, which began on July 26, followed the biggest rainfall in Quang Ninh in 40 years.

The water completely destroyed 339 houses across the province and another 9,000 houses were flooded. About 4,000ha of farming land and 1,200ha of aquaculture were also destroyed.

The flooding ruined a 7km-long road system and isolated at least seven towns and communes in the province.

The estimated loss of the province has climbed up to more than VND2.7 trillion (US$123.8 million).

Quang Ninh was worst hit by the floods out of the 10 northern localities. Others badly affected were Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Cao Bang.

Resettlement

Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung on Monday urged local authorities of this northern province to resettle locals who lost their houses to the week-long record floods.

He made this statement during his visit to the province.

He said the severe damage wreaked by the floods in the province highlighted the weakness of the restructured residential quarters in Ha Long City in particular and the province in general. The minister said his office would offer professional advice to the Construction Department of Quang Ninh Province on how to build these resettlement zones.

The ministry said it would supply two tonnes of concrete to the province to help the locals rebuild after the floods.

Local authorities have tried hard since last week to provide clean water to the 85,000 households in the cities of Ha Long and Cam Pha in the province after the water pipeline of the Dien Vong Water Supply plant broke down due to the floods and landslides. Heavy rains have further slowed down the construction of a new water pipeline.

Vinacomin joins in

Meanwhile, the Viet Nam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) will take several measures to deal with the worst rainstorm and floods in four decades in the northern coastal Quang Ninh Province.

Vinacomin halted all coal production in Quang Ninh, which is known for its large coal reserves, to focus on prevention of floods and post-flood recovery.

In the next few days, the firm will focus on ensuring the safety of vulnerable dams, mines and tunnels and draining of flood waters from its facilities to resume operations as soon as possible.

It will repair roads and railways meant for coal transport to ensure supply, especially to power plants. Meanwhile, the company will also reinforce the walls in coal storage sites, dredge drainage systems and prepare personnel for emergencies.

Vinacomin is also deploying forces to help Quang Ninh address the consequences of the floods, by evacuating residents, accommodating evacuees and donating money.

Heavy rain and strong winds continue to batter northern Quang Ninh's coastal areas, Hai Phong City and parts of the country's northeast region, with up to 100mm of rainfall being reported in some districts.

Weather experts have warned of a high possibility of landslides and flash floods in the country's northern provinces, including Quang Ninh, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang and Lao Cai, as well as Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La and Hoa Binh.

Occasional rains were forecast in the capital city, Ha Noi, as well as in the country's Central and Central Highland provinces, with a possibility of strong winds.

Thousands isolated by flooding

Nearly 1,700 people in central Thanh Hoa Province have been completely isolated from the outside world for several days after the Ma River broke its banks.

The villages of Sa Lang, Gia and Vui in Thanh Xuan Commune were turned into islands by the flood waters, isolating a total of more than 300 families.

Only Sa Lang village is able to get in touch with the outside by telephone line, but the situation in the other villages remains largely unknown.

A VND20 billion (US$917,400) bridge crossing the Ma river was washed away by the floods.

Earlier, in neighbouring Ba Thuoc Commune, an identified man was reported to have drowned in the floods. Another man washed away by the water is still missing. — VNS

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