|Authorities on Thursday morning are clearing the way to the landslide-hit locations in Quảng Nam Province that buried a total of 53 people last night. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Sixteen people have died and dozens are still missing after two separate landslides in central Việt Nam.
Authorities say 42 people remain missing across both sites.
Late Wednesday night 45 people were buried after bad weather caused a landslide at village 1, Trà Leng Commune a remote mountainous district of Quảng Nam Province.
Another eight people are also unaccounted for after another slide hit village 1, Trà Vân Commune, about 40km away.
Search and rescue efforts began at first light Thursday morning but teams faced difficulties reaching the affected areas as a number of smaller landslides had blocked roads.
Authorities say 37 people remain missing across both sites.
According to Hồ Quang Bửu, vice chair of Quảng Nam Province, the number of victims might be lower than the initially projected 53 as two families have reportedly managed to escape up into the mountain, but the information has not been confirmed yet.
The devastation was caused by Storm Molave which brought heavy rains across the central regions when it made landfall yesterday.
Lieutenant General Nguyễn Long Cáng, Commander of the 5th Military Region arrived at the Trà Leng this morning with 200 soldiers.
He said that while rescues efforts must be carried out as quickly as possible, the safety of those looking for the victims remains paramount.
Soldiers are currently using machinery and hand tools to clear the route to the areas where those missing are thought to be.
At 9am, Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng, who was tasked with directing response and relief efforts after the storm, arrived in Nam Trà My District.
Dũng asked that the rescue forces make use of all available approaches to gain access to the site, including using helicopters to survey the site and drop off rescuers if necessary.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has called this morning to get updates on the situation and sent words of encouragement to the search and rescue units, Dũng said.
Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper quoted an official from Trà Teng Commune saying that due to the storm, mobile phone coverage in the region has been disrupted and they could not contact the chairman of the commune People’s Committee Lê Hoàng Việt, fearing that his entire family might be among the victims of the landslide.
Late last night, PM Phúc sent an urgent dispatch to the Ministry of Defence, the National Committee for Search and Rescue, the 5th Military Region Command, and Quảng Nam People’s Committee to coordinate to search for and rescue the victims “by all necessary measures,” and report to the PM.
Also in Quảng Nam, at around 1pm, a side of a mountain suddenly collapsed in Tăk Pỏ township, Trà Mai Commune, Nam Trà My District, burying several houses but luckily, four people managed to escape from the landslide and no fatalities were reported.
Nam Trà My authorities then immediately relocate 100 households in the high risks area to safer locations. — VNS