Girl missing as Vietnam dam suspected to flood river

By Phan Hau – Truong Quang Nam, Thanh Nien News

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Girl missing as Vietnam dam suspected to flood river
One student is still missing in northern Vietnam after she and six others were swept away Sunday in a flood allegedly caused by a local hydropower plant.
Lo Van Xuong, chairman of Ta Gia Commune of Lai Chau Province’s Than Uyen District, said nearly 200 people have been searching along the banks of Nam Mu River but they are yet to find Sung Thi Do, 10.
Do and her schoolmates, all of H’Mong ethnic group, were on their way back to their boarding school after spending the weekend at their home village, about eight kilometers from school. 
They decided to walk across the river at around 10:30 a.m. when they saw water was just knee-deep. However, the river rose suddenly when they were midstream and swept them away.
Two nearby locals managed to save six of them, including five boys and one girls, after they heard the children’s screams for help.
Chairman Xuong suspected that the Ban Chat hydropower plant in the district may have caused the flood when it opened the floodgates.
The plant, which is located about 20 km from the scene of the accident, has ceased operation to facilitate the search.
There’s no bridge across the river, where drowning accident take place every year. Xuong said the local people and authorities have asked for a bridge to be built for a long time but to no avail.
Locals now either cross the river on a boat or walk through it, he said.
Also on Sunday, two seventh grade boys from the central province of Quang Binh were fatally drowned when they were swimming in an irrigation lake in the area.
Eyewitnesses said Nguyen The Huy and Vo Quang Hung had slipped into deep water.

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