Flash floods and landslides ravage northern localities

Thursday, 2017-08-03 17:32:09
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Flash floods occur early Thursday morning in Mu Cang Chai town in Yen Bai province. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO – Heavy rain, flash floods and landslides in the northern mountainous provinces from early August have claimed five lives, caused 15 missing persons and damaged 87 houses as of Thursday afternoon, announced the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control on August 3.

Reports from offices of local Steering Committees for Natural Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue in Bac Kan, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Yen Bai and Son La showed that floods occurred from August 1- 3 in the provinces and have thus created landslides with a volume of 25,889 m3 on national highways and 16,137 m3 on provincial roads. The National Highway No. 32 is still suffering from traffic jams due to 200 m3 of mud from the landslide. Damage assessment and statistics are still under review.

Immediately after the disasters, local authorities visited victims' families and mobilised forces to help local people overcome the consequences and stabilise their lives and restore traffic at areas suffering from landslides.

According to the Irrigation and Dam Safety Management Department under the Directorate of Water Resources (the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), water reservoirs are generally operated in accordance with regulation. Reservoirs’ level in the North is at 55-70% of their designed capacity, the North Central at 70-75%, the South Central and the Central Highlands at 60-75% and the South East at 45-55%.

At present, the reservoirs are being operated in accordance with regulation and under constant watch around the clock. All hydropower reservoirs have closed all their discharge gates.

Rescuers search for bodies of two victims buried by landslides early on August 2 in Ta Tong commune, Muong Te district (Lai Chau). (Photo: Tran Tuan)

In order to take pro-active response concerning floods, the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control issued Document No. 339 dated August 2, urged local Disaster Prevention and Control and Search and Rescue Steering Committees in the North to closely follow the situation in order to inform local authorities and people to be equipped in regards to effective response measures against rain, floods and landslides.

Local Steering Committees for Disaster Prevention and Control and Search and Rescue in the northern mountainous provinces, as well as Son La, Hoa Binh and Tuyen Quang Hydropower Companies, have been informed to ensure reservoir safety.

They were asked to strictly organise forces on duty to closely monitor the development of floods, while directing local functional agencies to take measures to actively respond to floods, flash floods and landslides. The provinces of Phu Tho, Lai Chau, Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai and Lao Cai have sent telegraphs to notify their departments and localities on timely responding measures.

According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, due to the impact of a low pressure system in the North, the region is still suffering from heavy rains until the end of August 6, with an average of 200mm being produced by this low pressure system.

Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Bac Can, Cao Bang and Lang Son may have a total rainfall of 250-350mm, while Dien Bien, Son La, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong from 150-250mm. Heavy rain occurs mainly at night and in the morning.

Flash floods and landslides in early days of August have damaged houses, roads and farm produce in a range of northern localities. (Credit: NDO)