Nearly 37 people have died and another 40 are missing due to floods and landslides that ruined north and central Vietnam. The natural disasters have destroyed homes and left rescuers scrambling to find survivors, disaster officials said Thursday. Thousands of people were evacuated after heavy shower lashed swathes of the country this week.
Northern Hoa Binh, the hardest hit with 11 dead and 21 missing, urged a state of emergency to be announced. “We are mobilising all forces to search for the missing,” a disaster official told AFP on phone.
“People should be evacuated from dangerous areas, the safety of people and their belongings must be ensured,” Deputy Prime Minister, Trinh Dinh Dung said on state-run Vietnam television.
“The flash flood was terrible. Water poured down from the hill, like a surge three metres high. Traffic has been blocked because of the floods,” Phan Ba Dien told state-controlled VNExpress news site.
Road access was entirely cut off in some areas. Rescue efforts were hindered as water and mud flooded roads in several parts, including in Hoa Binh. “Water was just rushing downstream… it’s been a long time since I witnessed that kind of flooding in mountainous areas. I didn’t feel safe driving at night, it was scary,” Hanoi resident Nguyen Vu Ngoc, who was travelling in the north on Wednesday, told AFP.
The disaster has killed 37 and over 18,800 houses damaged or destroyed.