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Northern provinces braced for floods, whirlwinds and landslides

Update: May, 02/2013 - 09:47
Local residents pick up ice after a hailstorm hit northern mountainous Lao Cai Province in late March. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Toan

HA NOI (VNS)— A 3-4 degree Celsius fall in temperature is forecast for the northern region this month, the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting has warned.

Heavy rains were also expected and the centre advised local people, especially those living in the northern mountainous province, to prepare for flash floods, hailstorms, landslides, and whirlwinds.

Meanwhile yesterday, roofs of 10 local houses were blown away, one school's gate was collapsed and a 2km high-voltage transmission system was cut off after a one-hour hailstorm hit central Binh Dinh Province's An Lao District.

The damage bill, estimated at hundreds of millions of dong, was believed to be the biggest ever in the district.

Previously, at least three people were injured and thousands of houses damaged after a heavy rain and whirlwinds hit northern mountainous provinces shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

The injured were from Yen Bai and Lao Cai provinces.

Around 3,600 houses were damaged and 22 collapsed, along with 200ha of rice were destroyed in Yen Bai Province.

Initial cost estimates of the damage were around VND10 billion (US$480,000) in Yen Bai Province, according to the provincial Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control.

Lao Cai Province's Bac Ha District was reported to be hardest hit, with up to 90 per cent of houses in Nam Det Commune seriously damaged. Bad weather caused power cuts in many areas.

In Lai Chau Province' Son Binh Commune, nearly 100 houses were reported to have been either demolished or had their roofs blown off and dozens of ha of crops destroyed.

In Ha Giang Province, the damage from heavy rain and whirlwinds was initially estimated at VND5 billion ($240,000).

Local authorities have dispatched officials to the areas to help residents.

According to General Statistics Office, in April as many as 59 people were killed and injured mainly by hailstorms and whirlwinds in northern mountainous provinces. Nearly 23,000 houses were inundated and damaged. — VNS


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