Vietnam – Torrential Rain and Floods Leave 24 Dead

At least 24 people have died in flooding in Central Vietnam after a period of heavy rain triggered by a tropical depression.

Vietnam’s Disaster Management Center (DMC) says that severe weather has affected the provinces of Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue since Thursday, 13 October, 2016.

The deaths occurred in Nghe An (2), Ha Tinh (2), Quang Binh (18) and Thua Thien Hue (2). At least 5 other people are reported as missing and a further 18 injured.

As of 16 October, DMC reported that around 100,000 houses have been flooded across the affected provinces: Thanh Hoa (30), Nghe An (2,835), Ha Tinh (24,158), Quang Binh (71,251) houses, Quang Tri (1,589). At least 7 houses have been completely destroyed, 6 in Hue and 1 in Quang Tri.

Roads and railway lines have also been damaged or blocked, causing widespread travel disruption. Traffic came to a standstill on some major roads and national highways and dozens of trains stranded.

Over 1,500 hectares of rice fields and 9,485 hectares of crops have been flooded.

Rivers

DMC reported that levels of many rivers in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh have seen similar levels to the flooding of 2007 and 2010.

  • Gianh River, Mai Hoa, Quang Binh – 9.20 m
  • Kien Giang River, Lishui, Quang Binh – 3.53 m
  • Thach Han River, Thach Han, Quang Tri – 5.29 m

(River levels according to DMC figures of 16 October)

DMC said that in some upstream areas rivers may have peaked, but high river levels may cause flooding in downstream areas over the coming days. DMC also warned of a high risk of flash floods and landslides in mountainous areas.

Minh Hoa district of Quang Binh. Photo: DMC
Minh Hoa district of Quang Binh. Photo: DMC

Rainfall and Typhoon Sarika

Tuyen Hoa in Quang Binh recorded 700mm in 3 days, according to DMC, with other affected areas seeing between 300 to 400 mm.

WMO figures suggest that Ha Tinh recorded over 800 mm of rain between 13 and 16 October.

Below are WMO figures for rainfall during a 24 hour period

15 to 16 October

  • Vinh 61 mm
  • Thanh Hoa 50 mm
  • Ha Tinh – 258 mm
  • Dong Hoi – 93.2 mm
  • Da Nang – 50 mm
  • Phan Thiet – 51 mm
  • Quang Ngai 117 mm

14 to 15 October

  • Vinh – 332.0 mm
  • Ha Tinh – 526 mm

13 to 14 October

  • Hue – 218.4 mm
  • Ha Tinh – 118 mm

Though rainfall is expected to ease, the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting warns that the country could face further severe weather if typhoon Sarika, currently in the South China Sea, reaches Vietnam.

In the Philippines, Typhoon Sarika (local name Karen) made landfall early Sunday, 16 October causing three casualties.

Hydropower Dam Releases in Ha Tinh Province

Vietnamese newspaper, VN Express, says that local officials have blamed the floods on the release of water from two hydropower plants in the area, without proper warning.

“Water discharged from hydropower dams during heavy rains in Ha Tinh Province over the past two days has been blamed for escalating the flooding that has submerged thousands of houses in the area.

“Dang Quoc Khanh, the provincial mayor, said water released from hydropower dams on Friday night had caused water levels to rise quickly and no one was able to handle the situation.”

VN Express added that a report from the provincial Irrigation Department said the Ho Ho hydropower plant discharged between 500-1,800 cubic meters a second on Friday night, while the Boc Nguyen plant discharged 150-200 cubic meters per second.