11 dead or missing as flash floods hit northern Vietnam

By VnExpress   August 5, 2016 | 12:23 pm GMT+7
11 dead or missing as flash floods hit northern Vietnam
Flash floods have severed access to the northern province of Lao Cai, leaving four people dead and seven others missing. Photo courtesy of Lao Cai newspaper

Rescue efforts are underway but access to the worst hit areas has been cut off.

Heavy rains that triggered floods and landslides in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai have left four people dead and seven others missing. Houses have also been destroyed and roads badly damaged, local authorities said.

Typhoon Nida, the second tropical storm to affect Vietnam this year, brought torrential rains to nearly all northern provinces, causing flash floods in mountainous provinces and low-lying regions.

Lao Cai has been battered by heavy rains for four days, with the highest rainfall measured at 152 mm in Bat Xat District on Friday morning.

Four people have been confirmed dead so far, while seven are missing and another injured after houses got swept away, said Nguyen Anh Tuan, director of Lao Cai's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Bat Xat District has been severely affected and swollen streams have destroyed a suspension bridge, leaving 16 households isolated in Sung Hoang Village. Authorities are still trying to reach them.

In communes across Bat Xat, hundreds of households are under water. The area has been evacuated, and the entire district is experiencing power cuts. Communication is also down due to no phone signal.

The floods have also affected local transport infrastructure, leading to localized flooding and several road closures. Traffic on the highway from Lao Cai to Sa Pa was disrupted due to heavy flooding while travel from the city to Bat Xat District was cut off completely as of 8:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Lao Cai authorities have reportedly arrived at the scene to give direct storm-relief efforts.

Typhoon Nida churned across south-west China, near northern Vietnam, after moving northwest from Hong Kong and onto the mainland where it weakened to a severe tropical storm.

It made landfall in China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday before shutting down most of Hong Kong with gale-force winds that disrupted hundreds of flights and threatened low-lying areas.

On July 26, Typhoon Mirinae formed in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea, and made landfall in northern Vietnam, triggering heavy rains accompanied by gale-force winds.

Although it was not regarded as a strong typhoon, Mirinae caused significant damage in Vietnam, leaving a trail of destruction in Hanoi and the northern provinces of Nam Dinh,Thanh Hoa, Ha Nam and Ninh Binh.

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