Floods in Vietnam Result in Widespread Destruction
At least 31 people were pronounced dead and four missing after multiple flash floods hit Vietnam’s central provinces. The floods began in the second week of October and more storms are expected to hit these regions throughout the month.
The Precursor: Flash Floods
The precursor storms and their accompanying 150-160 kilometre per hour winds have damaged over 240,000 homes and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Nearly 1,300 Vietnamese and 96 foreigners were evacuated from the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri and Quang Binh (home to the world’s largest cave). Flash floods, landslides, and severe land erosion have ravaged Vietnam’s central regions. Thirty-six national roads have been flooded or damaged, and water reached up to 2.5 metres in some regions. Around 14,500 hectares of cropland have been submerged as well. Additionally, the north-south railway services were put to a halt due to areas of inundated train tracks. Statistically, these were the most devastating floods to hit the central region since 2011, when 60 people were killed due to extreme storms and flooding.
“‘The water came so quick... our rice, chickens and ducks, our belongings were all swept away,’ said, Nguyen Khac Vinh, as he stood in knee-deep water in Quang Binh, the most heavily affected province.” (Yahoo.com)
Several images were captured of victims seeking safety on their roofs, as well as some slowly paddling around their submerged houses and water-filled streets. Despite poor circumstances, locals gave assistance to others and looked for much needed food and water sources.
Preparing for Round Two: Typhoon Sarika
If the devastation of the initial flash floods, landslides and land erosion wasn’t enough to cause nationwide and international concern, the worst is yet to come as forecasters are predicting Typhoon Sarika to smash into northern Coastal Vietnam within the week. Local weather experts are tracking the progress of this typhoon as it stirs up a frenzy in the East Sea, and many preparations are being made by authorities in order to brace the country for the incoming storms.
Vietnam’s weather agencies are forecasting that Typhoon Sarika will bring winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour, which may cause the need for evacuations and a strict ban on boats going into the dangerous sea waters. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has teamed up with local organisations to increase search and rescue procedures, monitor the progress of the typhoon, and make repairs to important disabled roads wherever possible. The Deputy Minister is also keeping a close eye on reservoirs as many of them are already full, and, if overflown, could potentially endanger the lives of residents outside of the flood’s path of destruction.
“State-run VTV warned viewers that many reservoirs were nearly full now and could burst at any time.” (Tuoitrenews.vn)
When the typhoon officially entered the East Sea on 18 October, The National Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and the National Steering Committee for Search and Rescue Operations opened a dialogue with authorities from the provinces that could potentially be affected by the typhoon. They announced that within the next 24 hours the storm is predicted to continue its tracked course at speeds of 20-25 kilometres per hour.
International and Local Aid
The Vietnamese Red Cross provided VND1.97 billion ($88,600) as well as goods and produce to the region. Local authorities are issuing warnings, providing food and clean water, and ensuring hygiene is kept intact in order to circumvent the potential spread of disease. From HCMC to Hanoi, donations have been collected to further assist victims in the ravaged areas. Donation campaigns are spreading, and further necessities like water filters and medicinal products are being widely distributed. In addition to much needed supplies, the search and rescue teams will be on full alert and ready to locate the missing.
Header photo by Wikipedia