Hanoi – Heavy rains that have caused 12 deaths in Vietnam’s southern and central regions are making way for a tropical storm expected to hit the Mekong Delta provinces Tuesday, disaster officials said Monday. Phan Phu Chinh of the Central Committee for Storm and Flood Control said that as of Monday morning, floods had killed 12 people and left one missing in south-central Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces. Thousands of homes have been submerged.
Chinh said the central provinces saw heavy rain between November 13 and 16. By Monday, heavy rains ceased, but rivers continued to rise.
The bodies of three children washed away by floods were found Sunday in Khanh Hoa province. The floods cut off railroads and highways connecting southern and central Vietnam.
Authorities Monday morning reported Tropical Storm Noul was expected to make landfall Tuesday in the country’s central region and the Mekong River delta. The storm was expected to pack winds of 62 to 88 kilometres per hour.
Vietnamese media reported Sunday that Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung had urged provinces to move people to higher ground and to call home thousands of fishing boats.
Schools in storm stricken areas will close for several days starting Tuesday. Boats have been banned from operating on some rivers.
Local media reported the country’s border guards had managed to contact just 2,000 out of 18,000 vessels operating in the South China sea to warn them of the storm.
Vietnam disaster centres and local media said floods had submerged thousands of homes in Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend.
Floods are a common occurrence in Vietnam and kill hundreds of people every year.
According to Vietnamese authorities, floods between October 31 and November 6 triggered by heavy rains in the country’s north and centre killed 59 people and inundated the capital, Hanoi. Other media put the number of deaths as high as 94.