Foreign tourists trapped as flash flood sweeps northern Vietnam

A flash flood battered a province in northern Vietnam following heavy rain on Friday, killing three and leaving six others missing as well as dozens of tourists trapped in the raging currents

Tourists are seen being trapped on the 4D National Route connecting Lao Cai City and Sa Pa District in Lao Cai Province following a flash flood early August 5, 2016.

The circulation of storm Nida, which hit Vietnam on Tuesday, has caused prolonged downpours in vast areas of Lao Cai Province since Thursday evening, resulting in the flash flood this morning.

Extreme downpours have been recorded in the four communes of Phin Ngan, Coc San, Tong Sanh, and Quang Kim in Bat Xat District since 9:00 pm on Thursday, the district’s chairman, Hoang Dang Khoa, said over the phone.

“The flood occurred at 2:00 am [on Friday] at streams in Phin Ngan Commune, reaching its peak at around 3:00 to 4:00 am,” Khoa said. “It tore down and swept away many houses in its wake, including one in Phin Ngan Commune, killing three children. Six locals are still missing.”

Meanwhile, the 4D National Route connecting Lao Cai City and Sa Pa District in the province has been cut off by the flood as many sections are submerged underwater or blocked by landslides, said Do Trong Nguyen, deputy head of the Sa Pa Division of Culture and Information.

“About 70 domestic and foreign tourists are still trapped between the 17th and 21st kilometer [of the 4D National Route]… The Sa Pa People’s Committee is trying its best to rescue these tourists,” Nguyen said.

Youths in Lao Cai City have joined rescue efforts since early Friday, while the provincial chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union is mobilizing drinking water and instant noodles to supply to the affected areas, according to the union’s secretary, Giang Quoc Hung.

According to initial reports, over 50 households in Lao Cai City are deeply submerged under the floodwaters.

The flash flood that swept through Lao Cai Province early August 5, 2016. Photo: Giang Quoc Hung

The flash flood that swept through Lao Cai Province early August 5, 2016. Photo: Giang Quoc Hung

An elderly woman in Quang Kim Commune, Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province is pictured collecting chicken eggs after the flood on August 5, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Residents in Quang Kim Commune, Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province are seen tidying up their house after the flood on August 5, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Residents in Quang Kim Commune, Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province are seen tidying up their house after the flood on August 5, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The flash flood that swept through Lao Cai Province early August 5, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The flash flood that swept through Lao Cai Province early August 5, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A video uploaded to Facebook of the flash flood in Lao Cai Province early August 5, 2016. Clip: Facebook

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