31 dead, 10 missing in central Vietnam flooding

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A woman wades through on a flooded street in Thua Thien-Hue Province Saturday afternoon. Photo by Dinh Toan

The weekend flooding in central Vietnam, caused by the latest tropical depression and hydropower dams' discharging water, had claimed the lives of 31 people and left 10 missing as of Saturday afternoon.

The National Committee for Search and Rescue said that the 31 deaths include 13 each in Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai, two in Quang Nam, and one each in Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Phu Yen province.

It said most of the dead and missing were swept away by floodwaters, adding that 16 other people 15 in Quang Ngai and one in Binh Dinh have suffered injuries.

The committee also reported that flooding and heavy rains sank seven boats in Phu Yen and Quang Ngai and caused the complete collapse of 56 houses in Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces.

More than 95,000 houses in Binh Dinh, Gia Lai and Phu Yen were submerged in floodwater, and more than 431 hectares of crops were waterlogged, it said.

More than 78,300 people in coastal provinces from Quang Nam to Phu Yen have been evacuated, with Quang Ngai recording the highest number at 67,000, according to the national flood control committee.

It said rainfall of 30-60 millimeters had been recorded in the region from Quang Tri to Binh Dinh from 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday.

According to a report by the National Center for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting at 5 p.m. Sunday, flooding in rivers from Quang Ngai to Binh Dinh has reached its peak and is slowly going down, while the water at the downstream section of Binh Dinh's Kon River is gradually rising.

Bui Duc Long, a senior official at the forecasting center, told the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the flooding broke records in many rivers.

The recorded level at night on Saturday in Quang Ngai's Tra Khuc River was 8.76 meters, 0.4 meters higher than the previous high in 1999; it stood at 9.68 meters in Kon River at 5 a.m. the same day, 0.24 meters higher than the previous high in 1987.

Water levels in Tra Khuc River had reduced to 5.77 meters at 4 p.m. Sunday, and at Kon River to 7.48 meters at 3 p.m., the forecasting center said.

It forecast that the flooding situation from Thua Thien-Hue to Phu Yen provinces will improve gradually, but cautioned residents about landslides in riparian zones.

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