1,500 tourists stranded by heavy rains on Vietnam’s Co To Island

Around 1,500 tourists were stranded on Co To Island, off the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh, as the island was lashed by the heaviest rainfall in more than four decades on Monday

Stranded tourists have dinner at a restaurant on Co To Island, off Quang Ninh Province, located in northern Vietnam, on July 27, 2015.

Around 1,500 tourists were stranded on Co To Island, off the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh, as the popular tourist destination was lashed by what may have been the heaviest rainfall in more than four decades on Monday.

The vacationers, who arrived on the island for weekend holidays, were unable to return to shore as no boats were allowed to operate during the severe weather.

Co To, a district administered by Quang Ninh, suffered rough seas and strong winds.

The transportation of food from the mainland to the island was also disrupted by heavy downpours, forcing several stores and shops to close.

However, authorities on the island asserted that there is enough food in reserve for the 1,500 tourists to use for the next couple of days.

The power, water and communication systems on the island are also ensured.

Co To is among the favorite destinations of tourists in Quang Ninh, besides the iconic Ha Long Bay in its capital city of Ha Long.

Visitors usually stay for a few days on the island at either hotels or houses that supply homestay services.

Hung, who runs a homestay house, said he was still able to buy meat and vegetables at a local market as of Monday afternoon.

“But seafood products were scarce as fishermen could not go fishing due to the rough seas,” he said.

A female tourist said she had been stranded on Co To for three days and did not know when she would be allowed to return to shore.

However, the worried visitor said she feels sympathy for the boat operation ban, as it was enacted to ensure the safety of tourists.

The tourist added that some accommodation and restaurant services on the island have cut costs to help visitors.

Hoang Ba Nam, chairman of Co To District, said the local administration is encouraging hotels to cut room rates by 30 to 50 percent, while asking tourists not to go outside during the foul weather.

Some hotels have slashed prices by 30 percent, and even 100 percent, for their stranded guests.

The rainfall, which the local meteorology agency said is the heaviest in 40 years, damaged three main roads, shut down a clean water supply station on the island and destroyed a wide area of agriculture crops, according to the district chairman.

The total damage is estimated at VND3.5 billion (US$160,772).

All of Quang Ninh was hit by lashing rains on Sunday and Monday, causing floods in several localities.

Three people were killed as floodwaters engulfed their house in Cam Pha City, whereas total damage caused by the flooding was estimated at VND112 billion ($5.14 million), according to the province’s steering board for search and rescue during natural disasters.

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