Dam release kills 280 tons of fish in northern Vietnam

By Vi Vu   July 22, 2017 | 11:44 am GMT+7
Dam release kills 280 tons of fish in northern Vietnam
Hoa Binh hydroelectric power plant opens the flood gates in Hoa Binh Province. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Many families are threatened by landslides as the release will get more intense on Saturday.

Discharge from Southeast Asia’s largest hydropower dam in northern Vietnam early this week has shocked and killed at least 280 tons of fish, causing farmers over $500,000 of losses.

The Hoa Binh hydropower plant in the namesake province started releasing water for the first time on Tuesday, sending out an average of 2,400 cubic meters (630,000 gallons), enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool, every second.

Hoa Binh’s disaster response and rescue team said the release has flooded 6 hectares (15 acres) of rice fields and killed 39.5 tons of fish by Friday, Vietnam News Agency reported.

It also caused landslides that directly threatened 13 families, leaving cracks on several houses.

Two men were drowned as their boat capsized on a flooded field in Hoa Binh on Thursday, but the deaths have not been associated with the release.

The dam effect reached further to the neighboring Phu Tho Province, killing at least 240 tons of farmed fish by Wednesday, Tran Quang Hoai from the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said at a meeting, as quoted by Dan Tri.

He said the sudden rise of water has caused shocks.

The dead fish are worth an estimated VND11.7 billion ($515,000).

The dam, which is 128 meters (420 feet) high and 970 meters long, is set to open the third flood gate on Saturday.

Officials said the release has been properly informed to Hanoi and other northern provinces. It was conducted after heavy downpours raised the dam water levels nearly five meters above limit while the peak of the monsoon season is yet to come.