|Rescuers search for nine members of a family buried in the rubble of their home in Cao Thang Ward, Ha Long City. Fifteen people died and another seven are missing after torrential rain that lasted for three days. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyet
QUANG NINH (VNS) — Fifteen people died and another seven were missing in torrential rain that lasted for three days in northern Quang Ninh Province.
The rain, the heaviest downpour in 40 years, totalled 828mm in places. It started in the north-eastern part of the province on Sunday and caused over VND1 trillion (US$45.8 million) in damage by 2pm yesterday.
The provincial People's Committee yesterday said that more than 2,800 houses had collapsed in the deluge and that 143ha of crops and about 880 fishing pens were swamped with water.
Dao Thi Thanh Huong, a resident in Ha Long City's Hong Ha Ward, said, "Electricity is on and off while tap water was cut due to the rain."
The Quang Ninh Water Supply Company has also been forced to stop supplying tap water to homes in Ha Long and Cam Pha cities for up to a fortnight because falling trees and landslides broke the main water-pipe system.
The rain also left about 1,600 tourists stranded on two islands in the East Sea, Co To and Quan Lan. Most of them were on Co To.
Hoang Ba Nam, chairman of the People's Committee on Co To, asked hotels and guest houses to give stranded tourists 30 to 50 per cent discounts to help them.
Le Thanh Long, a homestay owner in Co To Island, said 11 tourists were still at his home although they were supposed to leave on Monday. Long said the stranded tourists stayed in his house at no extra cost.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday ordered the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Security to mobilise all available manpower and resources in the province to help local residents fight off adversities caused by the historic torrential rain.
Other ministries and Government agencies were ordered to step up their efforts to restore the province's transport, power and communication infrastructure. They were also charged with the task of cleaning up the aftermath and helping local residents sanitise their houses to prevent disease outbreaks.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday ordered the provincial People's Committee to evacuate people living in areas of high alert for flash floods and landslides.
The committee was also told to provide food and water for households in inundated areas, Hai said.
Hai also asked the National Committee for Research and Rescue to join hands with the ministries of health and transport to provide assistance.
Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Nguyen Duc Long yesterday visited a landslide site where nine people were buried in three houses in Ha Long City's Cao Thang Ward.
More than 200 soldiers, police, and volunteers helped pull the bodies out.
The authorities have mobilised all resources to deal with the situation, but several areas in Cam Pha City and Van Don Island District are still isolated by floods.
About 1,000 families in Cam Pha City were evacuated to safe places yesterday afternoon.
The city administration said it would spend VND15 billion ($68,700) on remedial activities.
The latest information from the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting is that more torrential rains are expected in the next two days.
Heavy rains are also expected to blanket other provinces and cities in the northern region up until Sunday.
Fishermen lost in whirlwind
THANH HOA — Seven fishermen on two fishing boats from central Thanh Hoa Province are reported missing while fishing in the territorial waters of Quang Ninh Province and Hai Phong City.
The two vessels are believed to have sunk.
Rescuers continue searching for the missing people. — VNS