|A tree crushes a taxi following heavy rain, killing the driver on Lo Duc Street in central Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tuan
HA NOI — Thousands of houses were blown down by Storm Kai Tak last night as it changed direction and headed for the northern mountainous provinces of Phu Tho and Yen Bai after hitting the coast in Quang Ninh Province.
Three people were reported to have been severely injured.
The torrential rains damaged hundreds of hectares of crops and floods isolated many villages.
Although Storm Kai Tak, with winds of up to 73kph, made land fall in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh at 7.30pm last night, it brought heavy rains more than three hours earlier in the north-east, including Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh.
In Ha Noi, a taxi driver was killed and at least five others injured as fringe winds hit at about 4pm yesterday.
The driver, who worked for the Mai Linh Company, died when a huge tree fell on his cab in Lo Duc Street in Hai Ba Trung District.
Workmen took three hours to free his body from the crushed vehicle.
Several other cars were also damaged by falling trees in the capital city but only one person was reported to have been injured.
Initial reports from the State-owned Ha Noi Tree and Park Company showed that more than 80 trees, including many more than a century old, were blown down throughout the city.
In less than half an hour, heavy rains created flash floods about 30 centimetres deep in many parts of the capital and Hai Phong, causing severe traffic jams.
When the storm hit Quang Ninh's Mong Cai City, one man was injured. Many acquaculture farms were damaged and extensive blackouts occurred throughout the city.
At 10pm last night, director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, Bui Minh Tang, said the storm had weakened into a low tropical depression.
"The low tropical depression will continue to pass through the northwest, but the whole northern region will have rains for the whole day [today]," said Tang.
He warned the local people to watch out for flash floods. — VNS