News - October 20, 2020 | 01:19 am PT

Of loss and resilience: Central Vietnam hurt by historic deluge

Suffering the worst flooding in years, central Vietnam communities grapple with epic devastation, in any way they can.

Quang Binh

Tan Hoa Commune in Minh Hoa District of Quang Binh Province, home to Son Doong, the world's largest cave, stands under four meters of floodwater on October 9.

Since October 6, central Vietnam has been battered by prolonged heavy rains that triggered historic flooding, leaving the region deep under water and many communes isolated.

Truong Thi Huan, 53, and her grandson inside their makeshift 'floating home'.

More than 2,000 families across the commune have been similarly housed to mitigate the impacts of flooding. Built from wood and corrugated iron, these temporary shelters float thanks to plastic water bottles fitted beneath.

Hoi An

Hoi An ancient town, a UNESCO heritage site and tourist hotspot in Quang Nam Province, is swamped with floodwater.

All tourism activities have been suspended, with many residents commuting by boat.

Tourism in Hoi An had only just resumed in early September following a pause due to the second Covid-19 outbreak that hit the country in late July.

Workers remove garbage from the canal near the iconic Bridge Pagoda, a symbol of Hoi An, after floodwaters subsided on October 13.

The flood in Hoi An was not so severe and some people even found ways to enjoy it.

Pictured is a man sailing a kayak along a street under 0.5 meters of water on October 8.


A woman walks past flooded Ngo Mon Gate, the main entrance to Hue Imperial Citadel, formerly home to the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), Vietnam's last royals, on October 13.

Many parts of Thua Thien-Hue Province have been inundated for the past two weeks following prolonged torrential downpours, forcing tourism activities to grind to a halt.

Floodwaters in Thua Thien-Hue have receded while low-lying areas remain submerged.

A groom (man holding the bouquet) had to pick up his bride (in red) by boat during a recent wedding ceremony in Hue.

Thua Thien Hue recorded one of the heaviest death tolls due to flooding and landslides in the region - 27 out of 105. Many of them were victims of two massive landslides.

At Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant a landslide buried 17 workers on October 12, with two confirmed dead and 15 others still missing. Bad weather conditions have hampered rescue attempts.

Another landslide on the next day hit a ranger station housing a rescue team who were on their way to support and search for the hydropower plant workers. The bodies of all 13 people buried, including Major General Nguyen Van Man, deputy commander of the Military Region 4 that oversees the central region, were retrieved on October 15.

Quang Tri

The neighboring province Quang Tri recorded another landslide disaster early on October 18.

The mountain landslide hit the barracks of the Defense Economics Division 337 under Military Region 4 in Huong Phung Commune, Huong Hoa District of the province, burying 22 soldiers.

Rescue personnel transport the body of a soldier killed in the landslide, which might be Vietnam's biggest military loss in peace time.

All the bodies were recovered by 2:30 p.m. on October 19.

Truong Thi Khuyen, the mother of a soldier buried in the landslide, waits for news of her son near the site on October 19.

Most of Quang Tri is still submerged under water, with nearly 54,000 houses sunk. The province has reported 49 people killed by flooding and landslides.

Ha Tinh

A shrine commemorating war martyrs in Ha Tinh Province is flooded on October 19 after the north central province got hit by rainfall of 170 mm the previous day.

A section of National Highway 1A through Cam Xuyen District in Ha Tinh is flooded by up to half a meter on October 20.

Along with Quang Binh and Quang Tri, Ha Tinh has been one of three localities most affected by flooding, with 31,000 houses inundated and nearly 41,000 residents evacuated.

More heavy rains have been forecast to pour down the three provinces until Wednesday, with flooding and landslides warned.

Back to Quang Binh

In Quang Binh, waters have risen again on October 20. A man has to move around on what looks like a piece of a broken wardrobe.

Police officers transfer a pregnant woman (in purple raincoat) to a hospital to give birth. They transported her to the hospital on a motorboat.

Packs of relief aid including bottled water and instant noodles have reached the province. Newspapers, businesses, celebrities and NGOs in Vietnam and beyond have joined efforts to raise relief funding.

River levels across Quang Binh will continue rising in the next 12 hours, with the province hit by rainfall of up to 300 mm since Monday. As of Tuesday, nearly 95,000 houses in the province have been submerged and over 30,000 people evacuated to safety.

As of Tuesday, flooding and landslides triggered by historic downpours killed 105 people in central Vietnam and left 26 others unaccounted for.

The region will continue to be pounded by heavy rains of 200-600 mm from Monday to Wednesday, the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said.

Dac Thanh, Vo Thanh, Duc Hung, Huu Khoa, Giang Huy, Le Hoang, Nguyen Quy