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Flash floods cause huge damage

Update: October, 18/2011 - 09:10

Rescue workers help people in Cam Lo District in Quang Tri Province move to safety.—VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau

Rescue workers help people in Cam Lo District in Quang Tri Province move to safety.—VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau

QUANG TRI — Flash floods caused by torrential rain in the central region has inundated thousands of houses and killed six people in the central provinces of Quang Binh and Quang Tri. One people remains missing.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting yesterday said rainfall in central provinces from Ha Tinh to Quang Nam measured 100mm-200mm and even 300mm-400mm in parts of Quang Tri.

The centre said rainfall had begun to ease off in Quang Tri and Quang Binh.

Until yesterday, flooding had inundated more than 40,700 houses in Quang Binh. Thousands of these houses were submerged under 1-2 metres of water.

Yesterday morning, about 1,800 households with more than 7,200 persons in the province were urgently evacuated.

On National Highway 1A running through the districts of Quang Ninh and Le Thuy, flooding caused severe congestion, stranding hundreds of trucks and passenger cars.

In Quang Tri Province, flooding also caused long tailbacks on many roads and prevented five trains carrying around 2,000 passengers from leaving their stations.

Floodwater inundated about 14,000 households and damaged 1,000 hectares of rice.

The local Flood Control and Search and Rescue have rescued 12 people who got stuck during the floods and evacuated about 5,000 households.

In Hue City, heavy rains caused flooding on most roads in the central area, with many submerged 0.5 metres under water.

The province is prepared to evacuate roughly 20,000 people in places vulnerable to flooding and landslides, and store food in case the situation continues.

In Mekong region

Floods in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta as of yesterday had killed 44 people, including 38 children, and caused damages worth VND1.2 trillion (US$57 million), according to the National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control.

Flooding caused by the Mekong River rise to record levels also swept away 152 houses and inundated 72,000 others, eroded 1,500km of dykes, and destroyed 7,500ha of autumn-winter rice and 2,600ha of aquatic farms since August.

The annual floods have arrived nearly a month earlier than last year.

The upper stream provinces of An Giang and Dong Thap have been the hardest hit.

Dong Thap has reported the highest number of deaths – 15 – and estimated losses of VND884 trillion (US$42 million).

The region is reinforcing broken dykes, pumping water out of paddies, and monitoring important dyke sections around the clock.

Previously high prices encouraged farmers in An Giang and Dong Thap to plant thousands of hectares of autumn-winter rice in undyked areas and they are now losing much of their crop due to the early floods.

Farmers in downstream areas like Hau Giang and Vinh Long provinces and Can Tho city are scrambling to harvest rice and other crops to preclude losses.

In Hau Giang's Phung Hiep District, where 8,800ha of sugarcane were planted and would normally have been harvested around the end of November, farmers are harvesting 6,000ha that have been submerged for more than a week.

In Vinh Long, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has helped farmers reinforce dykes, harvest crops early, and pump water out of rice paddies.

It has also mobilised hundreds of harvesters to help farmers bring in hundreds of hectares of rice that are at risk due to vulnerable dykes.

The National Hydro-Meteorology Forecast Centre said yesterday the waters in the upper Mekong River, Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds), and the Long Xuyen Quadrangle would ebb slowly over the next five days, but remain at the third warning level until early November. — VNS

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