Families displaced by central Vietnam flooding, landslides steeped in chaos

By Dac Thanh   November 19, 2020 | 02:10 pm GMT+7
Dozens of families in central Quang Nam Province have returned home 23 days after evacuation due to flooding and landslides triggered by Storm Molave, only to find little left.
Ho Thi Kien sits with her two children as she looks down on what used to be their house and has now been buried five meters under soil and rocks. My house and all of our belongings and assets have either been swept away by flash floods or buried by landslide. Now we are left completely empty-handed. For days we have been relying on relatives, she said. On October 28, Molave landed in Vietnam as one of the most powerful storms that has ever hit the country in 20 years, bringing along with it torrential downpours which led to flash floods and landslides in central Vietnam. One of such landslides buried 39 houses, a school and traffic infrastructure in Phuoc Thanh Commune of Quang Nam’s Phuoc Son District. It was lucky enough that all residents have been moved out of the hit area before the storm landed and there were no human fatalities.

Ho Thi Kien sits with her two children as she looks down on what used to be their home, now buried five meters beneath the rubble. "My house and all our belongings have either been swept away by flash floods or buried by landslides. We’ve been left completely empty-handed. For the past few days we’ve been relying on relatives," she said.
On October 28, Molave struck Vietnam as one of the most powerful storms to ever disrupt the country in 20 years, bringing along with it torrential downpours that led to flash floods and landslides across the central region. One such landslide buried 39 houses, a school and traffic infrastructure in Phuoc Thanh Commune of Quang Nam’s Phuoc Son District. No human fatalities were recorded since all residents had been evacuated prior to the storm’s arrival.

A residential area is flattened by landslide. The entire commune has been completely isolated after the storm and it was not until Tuesday that task forces had been able to clear the way to connect it with the outside world.t

A residential area flattened by a landslide. The entire commune stood isolated until Tuesday when task forces finally managed to reconnect it with the outside world.

What’s left of a house after a flash flood.

What’s left of a house following flash floods.

The house of Ho Thi Hoa clings on a valley created by the flash flood. Her family now has used canvas to cover the area near the foot of the house to avoid losing more soil should more rains come.

The house of Ho Thi Hoa narrowly missed the impact of flash floods. Her family has covered the adjoining slope with canvas to avoid further soil erosion should more rains arrive.

Inside the house, Hoa’s oldest daughter, Ho Thi Ngoc Khanh, holds her sibling just next to the valley. We could not move out now because we have to place to go. All we wish for at this moment is that the authorities will soon allocate us a relief fund and a place for resettlement, Hoa said.For now, if the situation gets worse, the entire family will move to the commune’s office to take shelter.

Inside the house, Hoa’s oldest daughter, Ho Thi Ngoc Khanh, sits beside the slope holding her younger sibling. "We have nowhere else to go. All we wish for at this moment is that authorities allocate us relief aid and assist our resettlement." Should the situation worsen, the entire family would take shelter at the commune’s office.

For more than three weeks now, those that have been left homeless have taken shelter at the medical center of the commune and relied on food and essential products provided via different relief sources. After ten years, my husband and I have earned enough to have a house but now everything’s gone. What I have left is just the clothes I wear, one of the woman, Nguyen Thi Mai Ly, says.

For over three weeks, the newly homeless sheltered at the commune medical center, relying on food and essential product donations.
"After 10 years, my husband and I had earned enough to build our own home, but now everything’s gone. All I have left is the clothes on my back," Nguyen Thi Mai Ly, one of the women pictured, said.

The road leading to a primary-secondary school of Phuoc Thanh these days.

The destroyed road leading to a primary-secondary school in Phuoc Thanh.

A dormitory for teachers at the school after the disaster.

A dormitory for teachers has been inundated with storm debris.

A kindergarten which was under construction when the floods arrived has lost part of its first flood. The flash flood brought along with it rocks and logs from above and swept away everything on its way, a local recalled.

This kindergarten was still under construction when floods swept away a part of its first floor. "The flash flood brought along with it rocks and logs, sweeping away everything in its path," a local recalled.

A company has staff clean up its warehouse, which has been covered by a layer of mud that is almost half a meter thick.

Workers clear out a warehouse covered by a layer of mud nearly half a meter thick.

A local cut a tree left over after the floods to make a pillar for reinforcing his house. Nguyen Quang, vice chairman of Phuoc Son District, said the authorities now focus on fixing houses that are partially damaged. For those that have lost houses; the district will use all available materials and provide canvas for building huts. Once everything is under control, the district will work towards specific plans to make build a resettlement area for relocation, he said.

A tree left over from the floods is sawn into pillars to be used as reinforcement for a house.
Nguyen Quang, vice chairman of Phuoc Son District, said authorities are now focusing on fixing partially damaged houses. For those that have lost their homes, the district would provide all materials necessary to contruct temporary shelters. "Once everything is under control, the district would build an adequate resettlement area," he said.

 
 
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