Flash floods kill 18, isolate towns in Northern Vietnam

By Staff reporters   August 5, 2017 | 04:06 pm GMT+7

Heavy rains and resulting flash floods have caused damages totaling $31 million.

At least 18 people were killed as heavy rains and flash floods have been ravaging some of Vietnam's poorest northern provinces since beginning of August .

Another 12 are injured, 19 still missing and hundreds of houses and roads completely destroyed in the four provinces of Yen Bai, Son La, Lai Chau and Dien Bien.

The death toll is expected to rise while local authorities rush to search for those still missing. The floods have destroyed over 200 houses, hundreds of hectares of crops, and damaged many roads and public buildings. 

Official estimates put total damages so far at around VND700 billion ($31 million).

Thousands of people in the two most affected provinces of Son La and Yen Bai have been mobilized to rebuild houses, roads, and to search for those still missing.

“We are rebuilding roads to access towns isolated by the flash floods, said Le Van Thanh, vice president of Son La Department of Agriculture and Development. "Before that, the rescue team had to use ropes to cross small streams and forests to deliver food.”

Heavy rainfall of between 50-150mm and resulting flash floods are forecast to continue in the northern highlands until Sunday. 

Local authorities are evacuating residents to safer places and providing food and necessities to affected families.

Heavy downpours have been ravaging Vietnam’s northern region over the past month, causing scores of deaths and leaving many missing.

It’s the peak of the stormy season in Vietnam. Last month, Tropical Storm Talas killed at least eight people and left many others missing in central provinces.

Natural disasters such as floods and tropical storms killed 264 people across the country last year and caused damage worth nearly VND40 trillion ($1.75 billion), five times more than in 2015, government data showed.