Viet Nam News
CENTRAL REGION — The Doksuri storm swept through the central provinces of Hà Tĩnh and Quảng Bình in just a few hours on Friday morning, but the impacts will last a lot longer than local residents expected.
Thousands of residents in the provinces have suffered loss of life and property, damage to homes and businesses, as well as the devastation of crops.
In Hà Tĩnh, local residents in Kỳ Anh District face a critical shortage of both drinkable water and water for daily use. Locals relied on well water as the main source of water before the wells were salinated from rising tides caused by the Doksuri storm.
“All wells in the district’s Kỳ Ninh Commune were salinated and locals are thirsty,” said Lê Công Đường, the commune’s chairman. A report released by the local Centre for Hygiene, Clean Water and Environment said a total of 1,800 wells in the district had been contaminated with salt water.
Water taken from one local well smelled bad and could not be used for washing. Nguyễn Văn Lộc, a local said the well water caused itchy skin after it was used for bathing.
Local authorities have urged the province’s water plants to urgently supply water to thirsty residents. The only source supplied to the commune so far has been bottles provided by charity trips to the site.
In Quảng Bình, a power cut caused by damage to the power grid by the storm continues. According to Electricity of Việt Nam in Quảng Bình, a total of 102,749 residents have not yet been reconnected to power after the storm.
All residents in rural areas in the province’s Bố Trạch and Minh Hóa districts will have to endure a lack of power for several more days. In the municipal city of Đồng Hới, about 10 per cent of city dwellers are in the same situation.
Around 74,000 power clients in Hà Tĩnh will have to wait longer for repairs to be completed, having been left in the dark for four days since the storm hit the province.
Locals have experienced more losses than officially reported in statistics by authorities, and will face ongoing difficulties for a long time.
In Hà Tĩnh, reports showed no grapefruit trees had been uprooted by Doksuri, with damage statistics for orchards at low levels. But actual losses to farmers were higher than reported, reaching some VNĐ170 billion (US$7.46million) over a total 400ha of grapefruit in the province’s Hương Khê District.
The loss accounts for fruit ripped from trees, which were nearly ripe for harvest. “The fruits need half a month to ripen, but the winds caused all of them to fall from the trees. The fallen fruit can only be sold very cheaply,” said Bạch Đình Viêm, a local with 250 grapefruit trees on his farm.
The district’s Phúc Trạch is one of the best grapefruit growing areas in the country and local farmers waited a year for a bumper crop before Doksuri ruined it. “Grapefruit is the key economy of [the district]’s Hương Thủy Commune and the loss is sure to send many families into poverty,” said Đỗ Công Anh, an official from the commune.
Three days after the storm, a power line connected to a pump station in the province’s Can Lộc District fell, killing five cows in a field. Cows are big property for farming families, but that particular incident was not listed in damages caused by the storm.
In Quảng Bình, power grids connected to Phong Nha Township, a tourism hotspot of the country, have not yet been repaired. Power cuts cause losses for local tourism, as visitors cut short their trips and food reserved for meals goes bad without adequate refrigeration.
According to Nguyễn Châu Á, director of caving operator Oxalis, the storm caused no major damage to local property and the environment, but the local tourism sector was hit hardest by post-storm incidents.
Also in Quảng Bình, female teachers in Quảng Phú Primary School in the province’s Quảng Trạch District had to give up time at home to work. Last weekend, they left their damaged houses and went to assist with repairs at the local school.
The fear of broken dykes is rising in the provinces after the storm. Lê Văn Thanh, chairman of Cương Gián Commune in Hà Tĩnh said the local dyke system had been badly damaged due to strong waves during the storm.
He said locals had helped reinforce it with bamboo and sand bags, but that was a temporary solution.
Dykes in Cẩm Nhượng Commune suffered landslides at the base and seemed ready to collapse at any time.
The division of agriculture and rural development in Cẩm Xuyên District said dykes in the district had been built to endure a level 9 storm, but Doksuri was rated at level 12.
Đặng Ngọc Sơn, deputy chairman of Hà Tĩnh People’s Committee said the province was waiting for national budget allocation for dyke repair as the local budget was insufficient.— VNS