The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
HANOI: Tran Xuan Mien spent an entire day clearing mud and debris out of his flooded house – only to watch the water rush back into his living room Tuesday.
“I’m exhausted,” said Mien, 62, who lives in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. “My house is full of water again.”
After a respite from the rain for much of Monday, showers resumed in northern and central Vietnam on Tuesday and the death toll from days of flooding continued to rise.
The authorities announced that they had recovered 19 more bodies, bringing the total to 85.
Meanwhile, residents of the capital, where forecasters said rains were the heaviest in 35 years, attempted to clean up.
Mien hoisted his washing machine, refrigerator and two motorbikes onto piles of bricks to keep them out of the water.
“I’ve been living here since 1984, but I’ve never seen rain like this,” he said.
Forecasters predicted several more days of rain but said it would be lighter than the downpours that soaked the region over the weekend.
With swollen rivers and lakes across the Red River Delta, the authorities remained concerned that dikes could break. Some 9,000 soldiers were deployed to make emergency repairs.
Another 6,000 people were sent to help 35,000 households affected by the floods in Hanoi, where 23 neighborhoods remained under at least a foot of water Tuesday.
Water levels were lower in Hanoi on Tuesday, but schools remained closed and in some areas, garbage and debris floated into flooded homes.
“My house is still surrounded by water, and it smells horrible,” said Nguyen Thi Lien, 67. “We have limited water, just for cooking, and we haven’t had a bath in four days.”
The Vietnamese authorities were concerned about possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases, said Nguyen Huy Nga of the Health Ministry.
“Diarrhea, cholera and typhoid could occur after a week of flooding, and dengue fever is also a concern,” Nga said.
Flooding in central Vietnam has killed 41 people, while 44 have died in northern provinces, including 20 people in Hanoi.
Although the rains have eased in the central region, flooding continued to cut off some isolated areas.
“Roads to those villages are still under water,” said Pham Viet Phu, a disaster official in the worst-hit province, Nghe An.
“The death toll could rise.”