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Severe downpours paralyze central Vietnam with extreme deluge

Saturday, October 15, 2016, 10:00 GMT+7

Severe torrential rains on Friday inundated the central provinces of Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue, drifting three people and killing three others, while immobilizing the country’s north-to-south train services.

The heavy downpours that began late afternoon on Friday have blanketed the whole region in flood as high as 3 meters.

At 7:00 pm, nearly all streets in the Quang Binh capital city of Dong Hoi were covered in one meter high floodwater, with some places flooded at around 2.5 meters, forcing local residents to ‘swim’ to go home.

In Minh Hoa District, more than 1,000 households were submerged in flood as of 9:00 pm, according to local authorities.

The district administrators said its Tan Hoa Commune was the most hit locale by the climatic event, having submerged at nearly 3 meters, with many areas isolated.

The commune’s authorities have supported local people to shelter at higher places and have provided floating houses to encounter the phenomenon.

Nguyen Ngoc Phung, an official from the Quang Binh flood prevention and control department, said the rainfall was expected to bring about 350 millimeters to the province.

“But the recorded rainwater was nearly double comparing to the forecast, which is surprising,” Phung added.

“This is likely the most severe deluge so far this year,” an expert from the flood prevention and control department said.

Two were killed and two others are unaccounted for due to the torrential rains in Quang Binh, while one death and another went missing in the nearby Thua Thien-Hue province.

Searching and rescue tasks are ongoing in both localities, local officials said.

Trains delayed

The downpours have also completely paralyzed the Hanoi-Saigon railway section that crosses Quang Binh due to inundation and erosion.

Ta Manh Thang, head of the traffic safety department of the national train operator Vietnam Railways, said that many rail sections were heavily flooded at 6:30 pm, leaving ten passenger trains and 12 freight trains delayed.

On Friday afternoon, the train coded SE19 en route from north to south had to stop after crossing Le Son Train Station in Tuyen Hoa District.

The train, carrying 142 passengers, 96 of whom are foreigners, was pulled back to the station due to the poor weather.

All train passengers are served with meals free of charge, Phung Ly Ha, deputy director of Hanoi Railway Transport JSC, said.

In southern region, tidal water is forecast to peak during rush hours starting from Saturday, which is likely to inundate at least nine routes in the city and causing immense challenges to commuters, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

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