Death Toll From Floods in Central Coastal Vietnam Reaches 15

Some district residents report that they are still waiting for aid deliveries from relief teams.

Villagers in a boat transport boxes of instant noodles they received as relief aid past flooded homes in a village in Huong Khe district, central Vietnam's Ha Tinh province, Oct. 16, 2016.

Severe flooding in the north and south central coastal regions of Vietnam has caused 15 deaths and more than U.S. $44 million in losses and has imposed humanitarian hardships on residents unable to flee, state media reported Wednesday.

Six people remain missing, and 225 houses have been completely destroyed. More than 42,100 other homes have collapsed, according to the reports.

The flooding has affected the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Lak.

“When the flood came, we ran toward the fields,” said a female resident of hard-hit Ha Tinh province, who gave her name as Lan. “We did not have any means of transportation.”

“If we had heard the weather forecast sooner, we could have moved our belongings,” she told RFA’s Vietnamese Service. “But this time the flood came too fast, and we couldn’t do anything. The water rose fast. We couldn’t even move our motorbikes.”

Another woman from Ha Tinh province named Loi told RFA that only “strong people could move up to higher houses.” She also said she received some packages of instant noodles from volunteers but none from the local government.

A man named Tu from Ha Tinh province said residents want the government to help them build homes on higher ground so they don’t continue to suffer whenever floods hit the area.

A resident of Phuong My village in the rural district Huong Khe in Ha Tinh province, who declined to give his name, told RFA that his village received most of the relief supplies in Huong Khe district because it lies in the lowest area that has been affected by the flooding.

“Most of the relief teams came here,” he said, adding that about four or five groups have visited his village on most days.

“In general, families have received scores of boxes of instant noodles, tons of rice, and millions of Vietnamese dong,” he said.

His family and others in the area have received 32 boxes of instant noodles and about 40 million dong (U.S. $1,800), the man said.

Provincial administrations are soliciting funds from the central government in Hanoi for local relief and repair work.

Khanh Hoa province officials have asked the central government to provide 226 billion dong (U.S. $9.94 million) in flood recovery funds, while authorities in Phu Yen province have requested 105 billion dong (U.S. $4.62 million) for road repairs, media reports said.

Still waiting

Relief teams have been unable to reach some Roman Catholic parishes, including Thinh Lac, Trai Nai, Xuan son, Ky Lac, Ky Son, in Ha Tinh's Huong Khe district, and those in Dien Truong, Tay Son, Quang Hai, and Ba Don in Quang Binh province, locals said.

“Whenever floods come, people in this area lose a lot,” Nguyen Van Hung, a priest at Dien Truong parish in Quang Binh province, told RFA, adding that a major flood hit in the area in 2010, the year he arrived there.

Water rose as high as some rooftops during another major flood three years ago, he said.

“I plan to move people to higher places,” Hung said. “But whenever there is a flood here, people in the region receive no help because relief teams don’t come on account of transportation difficulties, and the media do not pay much attention to us.”

“The parishioners are hungry,” he said.

On Tuesday, the country’s National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting warned of rising floodwaters along rivers in the central provinces from Nghe An to Quang Binh as well as flash floods and landslides.

Several of the central provinces are still recovering from severe flooding three weeks ago caused by torrential rains that began drenching the region around mid-October, killing about 35 people and displacing thousands of others, according to media reports.

More heavy rain began falling at the end of October causing  severe flooding in Ha Tinh, Quang Trị and Quang Binh provinces.  

Reported by Kieu Nhi and Cao Viet Hoa for RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.