HANOI (AFP) — At least 125 people were dead or missing in mountainous northern Vietnam on Sunday after heavy rains brought by tropical storm Kammuri triggered widespread flash floods and landslides.
Thousands of troops, police and emergency services were rushed to flooded towns in the poor and heavily deforested region to deliver drinking water, food and medicines to people stranded on the roofs of their houses.
By early Sunday, two days after the rains first hit the area, 86 people were confirmed dead and 39 listed as missing, according to reports compiled by AFP from central and provincial emergency relief agencies.
One train engine was overturned by floods, but no one was injured, on the railway line between the capital Hanoi and Lao Cai near the Chinese border, while the parallel highway was cut by landslides in several places.
About 300 homes were destroyed and 3,500 damaged by the floods, which had also wiped out about 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) of crops, authorities said.
“We have mobilised all forces, including the military and police, to overcome the effects of the floods,” Bui Quang Vinh, Communist Party chief of the worst-hit Lao Cai province, told state broadcaster VTV by telephone.
“We are trying to get to the flood victims, bury the dead and provide medical treatment to the injured,” he said, adding that the family of each person killed would receive three million dong (175 dollars).
At least 36 people were killed and 31 remained missing in Lao Cai, but officials said the toll could rise as some areas, including Bat Xat district, remained isolated due to blocked roads.
“Many portions of road have been destroyed,” said Vinh. “Telecommunications cables have been cut. In some areas it takes half a day to walk from the local commune headquarters to the places were victims are stranded.”
At least 29 people were killed and four were missing in Yen Bai province, five were dead in Phu Tho, and one was missing in Bac Kan.
Eight people were killed in coastal Quang Ninh, including a five-year-old boy who died in his family home and eight construction workers buried in their roadside tent by a landslide, officials said.
In far-northern Ha Giang province, disaster relief official Hoang Manh Hung said an avalanche of mud and rubble had severed road links to at least one district, while the downpour had eased Sunday but was continuing.
“Eight people were killed in our province, mostly by landslides and flash flood,” he told AFP, adding that three more people were missing. “We have warned people of the risk of more landslides.”