Vietnam flooding deaths soar to 111, loss termed 'worst in five years'

By Tat Dinh, Gia Chinh   October 21, 2020 | 02:45 am PT
Vietnam flooding deaths soar to 111, loss termed 'worst in five years'
Bui Tan Trong of Quang Binh Province sails a rented boat to return to his house, which he said had been collapsed in floods with all the assets washed away. He had been evacuated to safety earlier, October 21, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
Flood damage incurred in central Vietnam over the past two weeks have been “the worst in five years,” Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said Wednesday.

As of Wednesday morning, at least 111 people have lost their lives and 22 have gone missing amid heavy rain, floods and landslides in central Vietnam. Over 200,000 people in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces have had to be evacuated, Tran Quang Hoai, head of the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority, said Wednesday.

Among the confirmed fatalities, around 60 succumbed to landslides, and the rest were victims of floods, accidents at sea, and other reasons, Hoai said.

Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, and Quang Binh provinces have recorded the highest number of human deaths. Thirteen people inside a forest ranger station in Thua Thien-Hue were buried by a landslide on October 13, along with 22 soldiers from Defense Economics Division 337 who suffered a similar fate in Quang Tri on October 18. Two people were confirmed dead in a hydropower plant landslide in Thua Thien-Hue on October 12, with 15 still missing.

While rain has subsided in central Vietnam, over 124,500 houses in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh remain flooded, with water reaching a meter deep in several areas. Several major roads, including sections of old National Highway 1 and Ho Chi Minh Road, were still flooded, disrupting traffic.

Deputy PM Dung said at the Wednesday conference on preparations for the incoming Storm Saudel and the flood situation across central localities that the number one priority right now is to help the people, especially those in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces.

"They may have rice and food, but they cannot cook, which would affect their health," said Dung, requesting the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide each province five tons of sausages as emergency sustenance.

Dung also requested the National Committee for Incident, Disaster Response and Search and Rescue to consider using helicopters to survey waterlogged areas and support the people there.

From 7 p.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday, provinces from Ha Tinh to Binh Dinh recorded rainfall of up to 82 mm, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

Storm Saudel, the eighth storm to appear on the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea, this year, is expected to hit central Vietnam in the coming days. Its possible impacts on the region have yet to be confirmed.

Historic deluge drowns three central Vietnam provinces. Video by Hoang Tao, Thanh Huyen.

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