54 dead, 39 missing as downpours, flash floods pound northern, central Vietnam

By Staff reporters, Reuters   October 11, 2017 | 06:02 pm GMT+7

It's one of the highest death tolls recorded in Vietnam from flooding, according to the disaster prevention agency.

Hundreds of search and rescue officers are looking for victims buried by a landslide that collapsed seven houses early morning on October 12 in Hoa Binh Province. Photo by VnExpress

Hundreds of search and rescue officers are looking for victims buried by a landslide that collapsed seven houses early morning on October 12 in Hoa Binh Province. Photo by VnExpress

Heavy rains have triggered flash floods in northern and central Vietnam over the past two days, leaving at least 54 dead and 39 missing and causing havoc in many provinces.

Hoa Binh Province has reported the highest death toll of 17 and 15 people missing after a landslide in the early hours on Thursday collapsed seven houses, leaving 18 people dead and eight others missingSo far, three people have been rescued and eight are confirmed dead. 

Central provinces of Thanh Hoa has reported 12 deaths and three missing, while eight died in neighboring Nghe An.

Five deaths have been reported in Son La Province, while three people are missing and hundreds of houses and many hectares of crops have been destroyed. 

In Yen Bai Province, four people were killed and 11 people are missing, including a Vietnam News Agency reporter who was swept away when a bridge connecting Highway 32 in Nghia Lo Commune collapsed.

A bridge collapsed in Thanh Hoa. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Son

A bridge collapsed in Thanh Hoa. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Son

Vietnam’s Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said authorities were discharging water from dams to control water levels.

In a report, it said more than 17,000 households have been evacuated and more than 200 homes have collapsed, while nearly 18,000 other houses were submerged or damaged.

It said more than 8,000 hectares of land growing rice was damaged and around 40,000 animals were killed or washed away.

Hoa Binh province in the northwest declared a state of emergency and opened eight gates to discharge water at Hoa Binh dam, Vietnam’s largest hydroelectric dam, the first time it has done so in years.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited northern Ninh Binh province where water levels in the Hoang Long river are their highest since 1985.

The floods are the result of a tropical depression that is sweeping through northern and central provinces.

Vietnam has already suffered destructive stormy weather this year. Floods in northern Vietnam killed at least 26 people and washed away hundreds of homes in August before Typhoon Doksuri, the strongest to hit the country in years, killed at least eight people in the central region last month.

Last year, tropical storms and flooding killed 264 people in Vietnam and caused damage worth VND40 trillion ($1.75 billion), nearly five times more than in 2015.