Truth Frequency Radio
Nov 18, 2013


Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

By Vu Trong Khanh, WSJ

HANOI—Severe floods triggered by a short-lived storm have killed at least 26 people and cut off traffic in several areas in central Vietnam over the last three days, forcing authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of people.

Most of the deaths were due to drowning, as water levels rose to nearly three meters in some villages. The government said Saturday that floods had killed 13 people in Binh Dinh, seven in Quang Ngai and two each in Phu Yen, Quang Nam and Gia Lai provinces.

“Water is everywhere,” said Le Cong Dung, an official with the storm department in Quang Nam, where the tourist resort town of Hoi An has reported flood water of up to 0.67 meters deep.

Around 1,400 people, including foreign tourists, have been evacuated from that area, the government said earlier Saturday, adding that authorities have evacuated more than 17,600 people from flood-prone areas in five central provinces.

Floods have also inundated tens of thousands of houses and isolated several areas, the government said in a statement.

The storm, named Podul as it approached the coastline of south central Vietnam Thursday night, weakened to a tropical depression before making landfall. It triggered heavy rains in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces, with rainfall ranging between 100 millimeters and 300 millimeters, according to the government.

By late Saturday the rains had started to ease, and the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said water levels at rivers in central Vietnam would begin to drop.

Podul is the 15th storm to hit Vietnam this year and it comes just one week after Typhoon Haiyan moved through the country. While that storm wrought massive destruction on the Philippines, it weakened dramatically before reaching Vietnam.

Fourteen people in central Vietnam were killed while making preparations to cope with Haiyan, but the storm inflicted mainly minor damages on houses, fishing farms and boats in Quang Ninh province in northeastern Vietnam.

Storms, floods and other calamities have killed more than 220 people in Vietnam since January.