Vietnam: Worst rain in 35 yrs

Hanoi – Pumps ran non-stop in the Vietnamese capital on Wednesday to clear water following the city’s worst rainfall in 35 years, in storms that sparked flooding across large sections of the country and left 92 people dead.

Life in Hanoi was slowly returning to normal after a halt in the rains, with floodwaters receding and residents cleaning up their homes.

Another seven bodies were found in northern Vietnam, including two more in the capital, bringing the death toll in Hanoi to 22 and the overall toll to 92, authorities said.

Neighbourhoods submerged

Forecasters said that rain over the weekend was Hanoi’s heaviest in 35 years.

At the height of the flooding, more than 100 Hanoi neighbourhoods were under at least 30cm of water, but by Wednesday only five neighborhoods were submerged, said Nguyen Anh Tu of the city’s drainage company.

“Our main pump station is running 24 hours a day, pumping 4 million cubic meters of excess water a day,” he said.

“We hope the water will recede completely from metropolitan Hanoi in the next two days.”

Cleaning out mud, debris and garbage

Only scattered showers were predicted in Hanoi for the next few days, forecasters said.

Hanoi residents, meanwhile, continued cleaning homes covered with a mix of mud, debris and garbage washed in by the floods.

Nguyen Van Hai, 34, and his family of three moved back home on Wednesday after spending five days with his in-laws.

He had taken the day off to clean his house.

“Our first floor is covered with 10cm of mud,” he said. “It’s so smelly.”

Five more bodies were found late on Tuesday in two northern provinces near Hanoi, Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang.

– AP

http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_2421311,00.html

PMs from SE Asia’s Mekong countries to meet in Vietnam

Leaders from Southeast Asias five Mekong river countries are set to meet in Vietnams capital, Hanoi

Leaders from Southeast Asia's five Mekong river countries are set to meet in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi

HANOI (AFP) — Leaders from Southeast Asia’s five Mekong river countries were due to meet in Vietnam’s capital from Thursday for two days of talks that aim to boost economic ties and trade across the developing region.

The prime ministers of the communist host nation Vietnam as well as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar were set to meet on Thursday, then be joined by Thailand’s new premier Somchai Wongsawat on Friday for a wider summit.

Except for middle-income country Thailand, the other four nations remain among the region’s poorest and hope to build prosperity through closer regional transport and commercial links, both with each other and with China.

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were cold war battlegrounds until 1975, and conflict raged on in Cambodia until the 1990s. Military-ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, remains diplomatically isolated and poor.

Thailand said Friday’s meeting aimed to enhance ties in seven areas — telecommunication links, tourism, trade and investment, agriculture, industry and energy, human resource development and public health development.

In the lead-up to the event, Cambodia’s Hun Sen arrived Tuesday in Hanoi for talks with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and other leaders.

Both countries signed a number of agreements, including on visa exemptions, the transit of goods, and on a future railway connection.

Thailand’s Somchai, who took office last month, on Monday visited his Lao counterpart Bouasone Bouphavanh in Vientiane.

When the Thai and Cambodian premiers come face to face at a dinner Thursday evening, the recent armed border dispute between the two countries over land around an ancient Khmer temple is likely to loom over the meeting.

Somchai said this week: “I may have a chance to see Prime Minister Hun Sen, but the talks will not be official because we have already agreed on how to work together. Everything is following the process and going fine.”

Thursday’s premiers’ meeting is known as the fourth summit of the CLMV group, named after member-states Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

On Friday, the Thai premier will join his four counterparts for the third summit of another grouping, named after the region’s major rivers, the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, or ACMECS.

Senior officials of that group this week discussed developing the regional transport network, streamlining border and customs rules and promoting tourism through a “Five Nations, One Destination” initiative, said state media reports.


http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jLq2KyUq3gSUiDwUhbYYz4UzoBPQ

Vietnam says they need funds for 5,900 km of expressways

HANOI – Vietnam, where crumbling infrastructure has been criticised for impeding economic development, is seeking funds to build nearly 5,900 km (3,666 miles) of expressways in the next decade, the government said on Thursday.

“It is very feasible to quickly recoup investment in expressway projects, given the pace of the country’s economic
growth,” Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said at a workshop organised by the World Bank in Hanoi.

The World Bank estimated it would cost about $9 million to build one km of highway in Vietnam, putting the total funds needed to develop the proposed expressway network in the Southeast Asian country at $53 billion.

Hung said the government would seek funds from various sources including foreign aid, government and corporate bonds as well as participation from the private sector.

Vietnam’s undeveloped road network and speedy urbanisation have resulted in rising traffic accidents and heavy congestion in large cities.

In the past week, heavy rain has inundated parts of Hanoi and turned some of the capital’s roads into rivers.

Traffic accidents in Vietnam, home to 21 million motorcycles and more than 1 million cars, killed nearly 7,000 people in the first seven months of 2008, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.

http://motoring.asiaone.com/Motoring/News/Story/A1Story20081106-98766.html

Rain stops in Vietnam but flood toll rises to 92

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Pumps ran nonstop in the Vietnamese capital Wednesday to clear water following the city’s worst rainfall in 35 years, in storms that sparked flooding across large sections of the country and left 92 people dead.

Life in metropolitan Hanoi was slowly returning to normal after a halt in the rains, with floodwaters receding and residents cleaning up their homes.

Another seven bodies were found in northern Vietnam, including two more in the capital, bringing the death toll in Hanoi to 22 and the overall toll to 92, authorities said.

Forecasters said rain over the weekend was the heaviest Hanoi has experienced in 35 years. At the height of the flooding, more than 100 Hanoi neighborhoods were under at least a foot of water, but by Wednesday only five neighborhoods were still submerged, said Nguyen Anh Tu of the city’s drainage company.

“Our main pump station is running 24 hours a day, pumping 4 million cubic meters (141 million cubic feet) of excess water a day,” he said. “We hope the water will recede completely from metropolitan Hanoi in the next two days.”

Forecasters said people living in Hanoi can expect scattered showers in the coming days.

Hanoi residents meanwhile continued to clear out the mud, debris and garbage that was washed into their homes by the floods.

Nguyen Van Hai, 34, and his family of three moved back to their home Wednesday after spending five days with his in-laws. He had taken the day off the clean his house.

“Our first floor is covered with 10 centimeters (4 inches) of mud,” he said. “It’s so smelly.”

More than 37,000 evacuees in two rural districts of Hanoi cannot yet return to their homes, disaster officials said.

Le Thi Kim Thuy, a disaster official in Hanoi’s My Duc District, said more than 12,000 people there abandoned homes when the rain started last Thursday.

“Their homes are still up to three feet (one meter) under water,” Thuy said. “They is a shortage of everything from food to water.”

In the neighboring district of Chuong My, the homes of more than 25,000 villagers remained submerged, disaster official Nguyen Dung Trung said.

Trung said the flood water level had dropped only a few inches over the past two days and that four villages remained surrounded by water and were accessible only by boat.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hxIa8SlpURJY2Ei0bTV5vxvwUkZAD948OQJO0