Six killed as flash flood, landslides hit northern Vietnam

By Nguyen Quy   August 19, 2020 | 02:12 am PT
Six killed as flash flood, landslides hit northern Vietnam
Residents wade through a flooded street in Yen Bai Province, northern Vietnam, August 18, 2020. Photo courtesy of Yen Bai Newspaper.
Heavy flooding and landslides triggered by torrential rains in northern Vietnam over the past days have left six people dead and over 300 houses damaged.

As of Wednesday morning, northern Vinh Phuc Province had reported two fatalities while Lao Cai, Son La, Lai Chau and Thai Nguyen claimed one death each, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

The committee said at least four others were injured.

Since last Sunday, northern provinces have been battered by torrential downpours due to the influence of a tropical convergence zone and effects from tropical storm Higos, which made landfall on China’s southern coast Wednesday morning.

Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Ha Giang and Tuyen Giang experienced heavy rainfall of up to 300 mm each downpour while Quang Ninh, home to world famous Ha Long Bay, and Hai Phong City received rainfall of between 200 and 350 mm each time. Levels of 180 mm a day are considered heavy.

At least 334 houses in the localities were damaged. Over 550 ha of rice and other crops were inundated while landslides blocked many roads leading to northern mountainous provinces like Lai Chau and Lao Cai, home to popular Sa Pa Town.

Weather forecasters warned northern provinces should expect heavy downpours with rainfall of between 100 and 250 mm from Thursday to Saturday due to the impacts of Higos.

Tran Quang Hoai, vice head of the committee, asked northern authorities to deploy rescue teams and evacuate residents in flood-prone areas.

Higos is the fourth storm formed in the East Sea this year.

The waters, known internationally as the South China Sea, could see 11-13 storms and tropical depressions this year, half of them directly affecting the country, meteorologists said.

Natural disasters, including drought, floods and landslides, killed 133 Vietnamese last year and caused losses worth around VND7 trillion ($302.6 million), according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In the first half of this year, natural disasters killed 47 people and caused economic damages of VND3.3 trillion, according to official data.

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