Search intensifies for Molave landslide victims in central Vietnam

By Ngoc Thanh, Thanh Lam   October 30, 2020 | 05:41 pm GMT+7
Hundreds have joined a large-scale ground search in a mountainous central commune where 12 remain missing following a landslide two days ago.
Soldiers of central Quang Nam Province are on their way to Village No.1 of Tra Leng Commune, Nam Tra My District on Monday where a landslide took place in the afternoon of Wednesday.  The accident, triggered by torrential rains from Storm Molave, had buried 53 people in the commune. Of them, six are confirmed dead, 34 have survived. On the morning of Friday, two bodies have been found, and 11 are still missing.

Soldiers of central Quang Nam Province make their way to Village No.1 of Tra Leng Commune, Nam Tra My District on Thursday where a landslide took place Wednesday afternoon.
The accident, triggered by torrential rains from Storm Molave, had buried 53 people in the commune. Of these, six are confirmed dead, while 33 survived. On Friday morning, two more bodies were found, with 12 still missing.

Under impacts of the storm, said to be the strongest to hit Vietnam in 20 years, the power and telecommunication system has paralyzed since Tuesday. Many locals have tried to reach out for help right after the tragedy happened but failing to connect the outside world. As seen in this photo, soldiers set up a specialized device for communication.

The storm, said to be the strongest to hit Vietnam in 20 years, had paralyzed power and telecommunication systems since Tuesday, severing all ties to the outside world.

Soldiers put aside what’s left of the 14 houses that had been flattened by the landslide.

Soldiers put aside what’s left of the 14 houses flattened by the landslide.

Before the rescue force arrives, more than 100 local residents in the area have rushed to the scene to search for the victims.

Prior to the arrival of rescue teams, more than 100 residents rushed to join the search for victims.

A local shines flashlight into a dark corner to see if there is any sign of the victims.

A local uses a flashlight to locate landslide victims.

A local man wears a pair of sandal gifted by a soldier. With his bare feet, he had carried a wounded person along with a neighbor and walked 12 km from where the accident took place to a national highway to look for help.

Barefoot, this man carried a wounded victim 12 km from where the accident took place to a national highway in search of help.

Ho Thi Hoa, 20, had lost seven family members, including her four-year-old son, to the accident. The others are her parents and siblings.  Working in Tam Ky Town of Quang Nam, she returned home immediately when hearing the news of the accident. After arriving in Nam Tra My District by motorbike on Thursday, she had to walk over 30 km from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to reach her village as the road to the village had been damaged.  The body of her father was found on Thursday night.

Ho Thi Hoa (L), 20, lost seven family members, including her four-year-old son, to the landslide. Working in Tam Ky Town of Quang Nam, she returned home immediately on hearing news of the accident. After arriving in Nam Tra My District by motorbike Thursday, she had to walk over 30 km from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to reach her village since the access road had been damaged.
The body of her father was found Thursday night.

Ho Thi Ha, 28, carries her youngest daughter. She says houses in the village stands just next to high mountains.  On early Wednesday, when Storm Molave approached the central region, rains started to fall before heavy downpours and strong winds came later in the morning. Ha had already sent two daughters aged eight and five to her parents’ house, which is located at a safer position than hers. Yet around 1 p.m., she heard a huge blast before seeing soil and rocks falling down like a waterfall.  Very quickly she escaped and scrambled to dig the landslide debris out. She successfully saved the two girls and her mother but failed to rescue her father.

Ho Thi Ha, 28, carries her youngest daughter. She said houses in the village stood right next to high mountains.
Early Wednesday, when Storm Molave approached the central region, rains preceded heavy downpours and strong winds. Ha had already sent two daughters aged eight and five to her parents’ house, located in a safer location. Yet around 1 p.m., she heard a huge blast before seeing soil and rock descend like a "waterfall." Scrambling to clear the debris, she quickly saved her two girls and her mother, but failed to rescue her father.

Ha’s oldest daughter Ha My suffers a broken leg. Military doctors have given the girl emergency aid and brought her to a hospital for treatment.

Ha’s oldest daughter Ha My suffered a broken leg. Military doctors gave the girl emergency aid and brought her to a hospital for treatment.

Locals dig up graves to bury victims whose bodies have been found. The search was put on hold on Thursday evening as it is too dark to continue and has been resumed early on Friday, with help from service dogs.

Locals dig up graves to bury victims whose bodies have been found.
The search was put on hold Thursday evening and resumed early Friday, with the help of sniffer dogs.

The landslide that buries a village of 100 square meters as seen from above.

The landslide that buried a village of 100 square meters as seen from above.
Molave made landfall Wednesday morning before weakening into a tropical depression. It killed at least 21 people including 19 victims of landslides in Quang Nam Province, and left 42 others missing. Nearly 230 houses collapsed and some 88,600 others had their roofs blown away.

 
 
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