Public complacent about flood risks: experts

July 15, 2017 - 09:00

According to Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, the week-long rains and resulted floodings in northern provinces have caused economic loss of VNĐ 41 billion (US$1.8 million).

Landslides have partially buried houses in Thôm Mò Village, Bắc Kạn Province, after prolonged heavy rains and flooding in the northern region the past week. — VNA/VNS Photo Đức Hiếu
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Prolonged rains over the past week and resultant flooding have inflicted losses of VNĐ 41 billion (US$1.8 million) in several northern provinces, according to Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

The committee noted that the flooding  has been “mild” since it was just the beginning of the monsoon, however, the consequences, both in economic and human losses, had to be considered seriously because they reflect “a lack of awareness” and dangerous complacency among the public about flood risks, as well as a lack of commitment from village authorities in particular.

The flooding has so far claimed 14 lives and 1 person remains missing. 472 houses were wrecked, and nearly 1,500 hectares of rice and 42.6 hectares of other crops were damaged. Multiple landslides have displaced 147,000 cu.m of soil and rock, and 3 bridges and 6 sewage systems have suffered varying levels of damage.

Two mountainous provinces, Lai Châu and Hà Giang, have borne the brunt of the rainfall and flooding.

Large landslides hit roads Lai Châu Province, paralyzing traffic, damaging 40 public facilities and burying 300 hectares of orchards and fish ponds.

More than 100 households were evacuated to higher ground.

Hà Giang Province suffered the biggest loss in life, with 10 people dead and 9 injured. The floods wrecked 300 houses and inundated 227 hectares of rice and other crops. More than 100 points along the province’s national roads, provincial roads, and communal roads have been hit with landslides.

To help affected local residents return to normal life at the earliest, the national committee has ordered provinces to continue relocate households and properties to safe locations, provide necessary support for households suffering lack of food, accommodation and money for daily needs.

Nguyễn Minh Tiến, vice chairman of Hà Giang Province People’s Committee, said that until now, most landslide-hit roads have been cleared and reopened; only a few communal roads remain inaccessible.

He said both manpower and machinery were deployed to the sites as soon as the rain subsided.

Tiến added that province has stocked seeds to supply farmers when agricultural production can resume.

In the long term, Hà Giang is preparing a plan to relocate as many as 5,000 households from disaster-prone areas.

According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, flash floods are expected on small rivers in addition to landslides in northern mountainous region, with many districts in Yên Bái Province facing “alarming likelihood” of calamitous events.

With more downpours and flooding forecast, the natural disaster committee has asked Hà Giang authorities at all levels to maintain a 24/24 alert, quickly identify households in high-risks areas and relocate them to safer places.

The Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Rescue under the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued an urgent order yesterday, asking power plants to closely monitor their dams’ safety and strictly follow regulations on opening flood gates.

Provincial departments of Industry and Trade were also asked to re-examine their stockpile of necessities so that they can provide timely aid to areas isolated by flooding. 

The weather centre said a low-pressure tropical system approaching Việt Nam will cause heavy rain nationwide starting yesterday night. As of 1pm today, the centre of the low-pressure system is expected to at 110km to the southeast of China’s Hainan island, with wind speeds reaching 40-60km an hour. — VNS