300 stranded tourists rescued from northern island as weather improves

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A soldier helps a boy get ashore after being stranded on Co To Island in Quang Ninh Province due to bad weather since July 26. Photo credit: Tien Phong A soldier helps a boy get ashore after being stranded on Co To Island in Quang Ninh Province due to bad weather since July 26. Photo credit: Tien Phong

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About 300 out of 1,500 tourists stranded on Co To Island due to bad weather have been transported safely ashore on Thursday evening on a naval ship in Quang Ninh Province. 
The ship reached the island at 2:30 p.m. and brought the tourists back to Van Don District at around 9 p.m.
Do Van Tung, deputy director of Quang Ninh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said each tourist was offered light snacks, bus fares and VND200,000 (US$9).
Earlier, hotels on Co To had been ordered to reduce room rates for the stranded tourists, he said.
The ship resumed its mission today to bring other tourists from the island to the mainland. 
Bad weather and rough seas have cut off the island over the past few days.
The rain has eased but boats are still banned. 
At least 17 people were killed in floods and landslides triggered by Quang Ninh’s worst downpour in 40 years that began on July 26.
Material damage was estimated to be about VND1 trillion ($46 million). Many coal mines that play an important role in the province's economy have been damaged. 
Quang Ninh authorities are rushing to save a dam in Cam Pha Town that may collapse.
“Incessant rain and accumulated water put the dam at high risks of collapse. Then, it would be a disaster for nearby households,” said Dang Huy Hau, deputy chairman of Quang Ninh People’s Committee.
More than 300 residents in Cam Pha Town have already been evacuated to a local clinic after their houses were flooded.
According to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, rains have reduced in northeastern provinces but are increasing in the northwest and north central provinces.
Colonel Vu The Chien, spokesperson of the National Commission for Searching and Rescue, said that 31,000 soldiers are on call for rescue missions. 

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