Heavy rains and subsequent flooding that raged in northern Vietnam from July 27 to August 2 killed 22 people and injured 36 others, the National Steering Board for Disaster Prevention and Control reported on Sunday. Of the dead, 17 were in Quang Ninh, two in Lang Son, two in Lai Chau, and one in Son La. The 36 injured people were recorded in Quang Ninh, Dien Bien, Lao Cai, and Ha Giang, the board said. On August 1 and 2, four people died in Lai Chau, Son La, and Vinh Phuc; and seven others were wounded in Dien Bien, Lao Cai, and Ha Giang. Prolonged torrential rains covered most of the northern region, especially Quang Ninh, Dien Bien, Lang Son, Son La, and Bac Giang during the period, leading to serious inundation and landslides that damaged 9,133 houses and other property and causing a total loss of dozens of billions of dong. (VND1 billion ~ US$46,000) The heaviest 24-hour rainfall in northern Vietnam over the eight days was 437mm in Cua Ong Ward, in Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha City, and the highest total precipitation was 1,400mm, also in Cua Ong. In other provinces, the rainfall totals in the period were much lower: 420mm in Lang Son’s Mau Son District, 365mm in Bac Can’s Phuong Vien District, 327mm in Bac Giang’s Son Dong District, and 318mm in Ha Giang. Heavy rains have also caused the water levels of many rivers in northern Vietnam to rise. At 3:00 pm on August 2, the level of the Thuong and Luc Nam Rivers reached 4.95 meters and 4.6 meters respectively.
Floodwater from heavy rains and rising rivers has devastated many northern provinces. A total of 2,466 hectares of rice has been damaged, including 650 hectares in Dien Bien, 337.1 hectares in Tuyen Quang, 1,330 hectares in Lang Son, 129 hectares in Son La, and 20 hectares in Cao Bang.
An amphibious vehilce was used in the nothern province of Quang Ninh to take people stuck in dangerous areas to safe places. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The calamity also killed 97 cattle in Dien Bien and over 13,500 poultry in Dien Bien and Quang Ninh. A total of 64 small irrigation works collapsed or were swept away, including 59 in Dien Bien and five in Tuyen Quang. In addition, 420,500m3 of national highways and other roads were damaged, including 300,000m3 in Quang Ninh, 103,500m3 in Lang Son, and 17,000m3 in Dien Bien. At least 20 bridges were ravaged, including seven in Son La, two in Lang Son, and one in Cao Bang. The disaster ruined 1,070 hectares of aquaculture and 880 shrimp and fish cages in Quang Ninh. Notably, on July 31, floodwaters broke the Huoi Cu Dam in Tuan Giao District, Dien Bien Province, sweeping away two houses, submerging 80 houses, causing landslides affecting 130 households, destroying irrigation works, submerging and ruining 450 hectares of rice, and destroying 15km of national highways and other roads and many underground works. The seven days also saw strong winds and violent sea waves sink three ships, leaving one person dead and six others missing in Quang Ninh Province and Hai Phong City. The downpours are considered the worst of their kind in the last 40 years, and Quang Ninh has so far sustained the most damage in the northern region. Along with the said death toll of 17, the province also suffered total damage of VND2.2 trillion ($101 million), according to provincial authorities. Yesterday provincial authorities deployed more than 2,600 soldiers, militiamen and police officers, and 80 vehicles to evacuate 690 households from heavily submerged areas to safe places, and take part in other activities to mitigate the consequences of the disaster.