Five killed, 14 missing as storm Wipha peters out

By Vo Hai   August 4, 2019 | 07:10 am PT
Five killed, 14 missing as storm Wipha peters out
Heavy rains caused by storm Wipha triggered flooding in Thanh Hoa Province. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
At least five people died and 14 people have been listed missing after storm Wipha made landfall in Vietnam Friday night.

Although the storm devolved into a tropical depression Saturday morning, the heavy rains that it brought triggered flooding, landslides and rockslides in several provinces and cities.

The worst hit locality was the central province of Thanh Hoa which lost three people and has listed another 13 as missing as of Sunday evening. The northern provinces of Bac Kan and Dien Bien lost one person each, with the latter also listing a person as missing. 

The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said that nearly 50 houses (32 in Thanh Hoa and 15 in the northern Lang Son Province) were heavily damaged and another 200 houses partially damaged by the heavy downpours and resultant flooding.

In Thanh Hoa, rescue forces managed to reach Quan Son District on Sunday, more than a day after it was isolated. Several localities still remain inaccessible, the committee said.

Provincial authorities are still carrying out search and rescue operations and trying to establish and maintain communication with remote and isolated localities.

Weather monitoring data showed that between Friday and Sunday, storm/tropical depression Wipha had triggered heavy rainfall across northern and north central provinces. The total rainfall was measured at over 380 mm in Quang Ninh, over 420 mm in Vinh Phuc, 400 mm in Lang Son, 380 mm in Ha Nam and over 500 mm in Thanh Hoa. Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.

According to the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, heavy rain would persist through Sunday night and Monday in Thanh Hoa and the neighboring Nghe An Province, before decreasing gradually and stopping in the next 3-4 days.

Between August 10 and 30, at least one to two low-pressure systems, tropical depressions or tropical storms are forecast to get active in the East Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea, and could affect Vietnam, weather experts have cautioned. Three to four heavy downpours are also forecast to affect northern and north central provinces during this period.

Storm Wipha hit the coast of Quang Ninh Province and the nearby port city of Hai Phong Friday night with wind speeds of up to 75 kilometers per hour (47 miles per hour) before weakening into a tropical depression Saturday morning, battering northern and north central provinces with heavy rain and wind speeds of 40-50  kilometers per hour.

Vietnam annually can be hit by up to 10 tropical storms during the monsoon season between July and October. Four storms are expected this year. There were nine storms last year.

Natural disasters, mostly floods, storms and landslides, killed 181 people last year and left 37 others missing and caused losses of around VND20 trillion ($858 million).

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