Ho Chi Minh City Submerged After Huge Storm

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Huge areas of Ho Chi Minh City suffered massive flooding last night [September 26] after the city bore witness to one of the worst storms in living memory. The skies turned black at about 4:30 p.m. and what followed was of biblical proportions. Two hours later and the rain was still pouring down. The affected parts went way beyond those normally flooded. Residents in Thao Dien in District 2 have grown used to seeing floods every time a heavy rain coincides with a high tide. This was different, the popular Buddha Bar was inundated to a depth of almost a foot as staff battled in vain to stop the onslaught. Parts of Thao Dien were still flooded this morning; some 16 hours after the storm started.

Photo via Zing

In the city centre it was utter chaos as traffic struggled to come to terms with the conditions. Pasteur was more than a foot deep and premises were breached along its length. Le Thanh Ton was the same, which when you consider how much higher than the riverfront it is, is incredible. The Thu Thiem tunnel was closed by 6 p.m., and conditions only worsened. The traffic was intolerable and motorbikes stalled as cars, showing total disregard for bike riders, ploughed through at speed. The Bitexco Tower was breached with flood water rushing into the ground level shopping area. Even the higher ground of the city like Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Tran Hung Dao didn't escape the floods.

By 8:30 p.m. the traffic was in total gridlock in parts of the city. Nguyen Huu Can was totally blocked, after the tunnel under the Thu Thiem Bridge flooded, making navigation to the Saigon Bridge all but impossible. Many took the turn onto the Thu Thiem Bridge only to find that after crossing the river the roads on the other side were completely grid locked and severely affected by floods. By this time the Thu Thiem Tunnel had been re-opened which helped matters immensely.

Photo via Zing

As District 2 continues to build on floodplains and marshland it is a worrying concern for people living there. They keep building the roads higher but many properties are now below road levels. The loop road that runs under the highway into Thao Dien is currently being doubled in size and raised about two feet. That is all well and good but all that water has to go somewhere.

District 7 was also in chaos with even the huge dual carriageway of Nguyen Van Linh resembling a river at one point. Tan Son Nhat International Airport was badly affected, with many flights cancelled or delayed. Vietjet Air had three flights, due into Ho Chi Minh City, diverted to Cam Ranh International Airport, which serves Nha Trang. Five Vietnam Airlines flights from Melbourne (Australia), Hong Kong, Guangzhou (China), and Hanoi landed at alternative airports and were forced to wait until the weather improved.

As always the superb spirit of the Vietnamese people shone through, with hundreds of examples of people helping each other out. Many motorbikes were simply getting washed away by torrents too strong to resist, but on every occasion, locals rushed in to help the drivers recover their machines.

Photo via Zing

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