Flash floods isolate over 200 hydropower plant staff in central Vietnam

By Phuoc Tuan, Vo Thanh, Nguyen Dong   October 30, 2020 | 05:36 pm GMT+7
Flash floods isolate over 200 hydropower plant staff in central Vietnam
Dak Mi 2 hydropower plant in Quang Nam Province, October 30, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan.
Flash floods triggered by Storm Molave have blocked access to a dam project in Quang Nam Province, trapping 219 staff.

The group of 219 employees comprises workers and senior staff at Dac Mi 2 Hydro Power Plant in the forest of Phuoc Loc Commune, Phuoc Son District.

Floods have destroyed a concrete bridge crossing Dak Mi River, swept away another bridge leading to the project, and damaged traffic infrastructure across the area.

Le Xuan Tan, CEO of Agrita Quang Nam Energy JSC, the dam’s investor, said project employees are now being divided into three groups.

He is currently stuck with 27 others in an area around three kilometers from the dam, with 25 additional staff stranded elsewhere. For now, contact with both groups is ongoing.

The remaining 167 construction workers are currently stuck in a more remote area, with no means of communication.

Ever since Storm Molave hit central Vietnam on Wednesday morning, the only information on the 167 came from local residents who had passed them by.

It was reported Thursday afternoon all the workers are safe but are running out of food, with access to the area "very dangerous."

Authorities in Quang Nam confirmed Thursday morning it is still impossible to contact the 167 trapped workers.

Work started on Dak Mi 2 two years ago, with construction still ongoing. As estimated by the investor, water supply at the construction site was only enough for two days at most.

Colonel Truong Quang Nhan, deputy chief of 5th Military Region that oversees part of central and Central Highlands regions, said military forces will open routes leading to the dam area from highlands province Kon Tum, which borders Quang Nam.

With all access routes to the hydro power plant construction site blocked or destroyed, related forces are considering a series of food supply and rescue options.

For now, they have used a cable system to deliver food to the two stranded groups. If necessary, helicopters will be deployed.

A pulley system has also been introduced to retrieve stranded workers on Friday afternoon, with more than 20 rescued since.

A pulley system is set up Friday morning to take the stranded workers out. Video by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

Costing VND4.7 trillion ($202.6 million), Dac Mi 2 has a designed capacity of 147 MW and annual output of 450 million kWh.

Also in Phuoc Son District, Dak Mi 4 with a capacity of 190 MW started operation in 2012.

Due to Molave, said to be the biggest storm to hit Vietnam in 20 years, Quang Nam has recorded a number of deadly landslides.

Two different landslides occurred in Tra Leng and Tra Van communes of Nam Tra My on Wednesday. The Tra Van landslide trapped 20 people, of whom eight were killed and the rest injured. The Tra Leng commune incident affected 53, with 33 survivors, eight confirmed dead, and 12 others still missing.

Another landslide in Quang Nam’s Phuoc Son District on Thursday buried 11 people, killing at least five, leaving six missing. All 11 victims are believed to belong to the same family.

Storm Molave uprooted many trees and damaged hundreds of buildings. Nearly 230 houses collapsed and some 88,600 others had their roofs blown away.

 
 
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