Death toll rises to 21 as floods engulf central Vietnam

By Toan Dao, Doan Loan   October 15, 2016 | 11:53 pm PT
Death toll rises to 21 as floods engulf central Vietnam
A man driving a boat with a motorcycle on board through a submerged road in Thua Thien-Hue on October 14, 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
An incoming typhoon could add to the already fatal disaster.

Severe floods caused by heavy downpours and sudden releases from hydropower reservoirs in central Vietnam in recent days have left at least 21 people dead, 8 missing and many injured.

15 people were killed and seven others reported missing in Quang Binh Province, while two people died in each of the provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Thua Thien-Hue, according to a report released on Sunday by the Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

About 100,000 houses in the affected provinces, mostly in Quang Binh, are under water and damaged, and seven have completely collapsed.

Dang Quoc Khanh, the provincial mayor, said water released from hydropower dams on Friday night had caused water levels to rise quickly and no one was able to handle the situation.

Nearly 1,600 hectares (3,953 acres) of rice and more than 9,000 hectares of other agricultural land have been flooded, according to the report.

Flooding and erosion along the north-south rail link on Saturday morning also delayed at least 43 trains, with around 10,000 passengers and 400 tons of cargo affected. One train was carrying 96 foreigners.

The section of the trans-Vietnam Highway 1A through Quang Binh, the hardest hit province, was reopened for vehicles on Saturday afternoon after water levels receded, Vice Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho said Sunday.

The ministry is working to repair the remaining 90km of damaged railway in Quang Binh on the north-south rail link and expects to finish the job in a few days, Tho said.

On Sunday Typhoon Sarika, which has passed the Phillipines’ Luzon Island, is headed toward central Vietnam.

In the next 24 hours, Sarika is expected to head west at speeds of 20kph. At about 10:00 a.m. on Monday, the typhoon is forecast to be about 200km east of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea (which Vietnam calls the East Sea), causing rough seas and strong winds in the area.

Le Thanh Hai, vice director of the National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Center, told local press earlier on Sunday that Sarika is likely to cause heavy rains in central Vietnam. The latest typhoon may also bring downpours to the country’s north.

Related news:

Deadly floods blamed on hydropower power plants in central Vietnam

Province drowns as non-stop rains, floods hit central Vietnam

Central Vietnam in for stormy weather this weekend

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