Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI - Heavy downpours and flooding caused by a tropical depression over the past few days have wreaked havoc in central and northern localities, claiming the lives of at least 20 people. Five were injured and at least 12 others are missing, according to the National Committee for Search and Rescue.
“Rain levels in northern mountainous provinces were double the average. The levels of 2,984 reservoirs from central Hà Tĩnh Province to the north are at their limits. 20 per cent are at risk of overflowing,” said Nguyễn Xuân Cường, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, at a meeting of the National Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control yesterday.
“This is the highest rainfall we’ve seen for many years,” he said.
According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, water levels of reservoirs in central Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An provinces will continue to rise.
The height of the Mã river in central Thanh Hóa Province has risen to 7.5m, one metre above the alarm level. The water is predicted to rise to the level of the historic flood of 1980, Hoàng Đức Cường, director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said.
The agency also warned of flash floods and landslides in mountainous areas of Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An provinces.
Low-lying areas near rivers in Yên Bái and Phú Thọ provinces are also at risk of flooding. Mountainous provinces in the north like Hà Giang, Tuyên Quang, Lào Cai are in danger of flash floods.
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng urged the National Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control to take drastic measures to minimise damage to lives and property, while dealing with transport infrastructure affected by the landslides.
The priority is to evacuate residents out of risk-prone areas and search for missing people, he said while ordering safe operation of reservoirs and hydropower dams.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday also sent a document urging agencies and localities to take urgent measures to respond to heavy rain and floods and ensure safety measures for reservoirs.
At least 16 people are missing or dead in Trạm Tấu District, Nghĩa Lộ Town and Văn Chấn District of northern mountainous province of Yên Bái.
As many as 230 houses in Văn Trấn, Trạm Tấu districts and Nghĩa Lộ Town have sustained damage, some of which have collapsed. The provincial route from Nghĩa Lộ District to Trạm Tấu District was congested due to flooding and landslides.
Thia Bridge in Nghĩa Lộ Town collapsed yesterday. Five people on the bridge were washed away, including a Việt Nam News Agency reporter working at the scene. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing.
Chairman of Yên Bái Province’s People’s Committee Đỗ Đức Duy said that the province has mobilised additional forces to vulnerable areas such as Ao Lương of Văn Trấn District and Văn Trấn hydropower plant in preparation for emergencies.
After efforts to recover six rail carriages buried by a landslide at Lâm Giang train station, Yên Bái Province, Đới Sỹ Hùng, deputy director of Việt Nam Railway Corporation said that the position of the landslide made it hard for vehicles to enter and move rocks away.
The rescue team is working around the clock. If the rain eases, the incident will be resolved within four days at the earliest, Hùng said.
Residents in areas such as Đà Bắc, Lạc Sơn, Tân Lạc districts and Hòa Bình City in northern Hòa Bình Province have been isolated due to the continuous downpour, cutting off transport routes.
Bùi Văn Tỉnh, secretary of Hòa Bình Province’s Party Committee said that the flood was the biggest in recent years. At least 20 people were missing.
The province announced a state of emergency for reservoirs, roads and landslide-prone areas.
By 9am yesterday, the water level of Hòa Bình Reservoir reached 117.4 metres, with the water flowing into the reservoir at 12,960cu.m per second.
The Hòa Bình Reservoir under the Hòa Bình Hydro-power Company has opened eight floodgates to lower the water level.
Nguyễn Văn Quang, deputy chief of the National Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said at an urgent meeting yesterday morning that if the water flowing into the reservoir continues to rise, the reservoir might open other floodgates.
In central Nghệ An Province, at least eight people have died and are missing. At least 735 houses were flooded. More than 5,000 ha of rice and farm produce were inundated. Nearly 8,000 poultry have died. Local farmers lost 525ha of fish farms in total. The province has moved 154 households out of the flooded areas.
In central Thanh Hóa Province, a house collapsed, killing three people in Thường Xuân District.
A dyke in Tế Nông Commune, Nông Cống District broke on Tuesday, leaving more than 100 locals isolated in the water. - VNS