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Thailand, Vietnam caught in the line of fire from increased storm activity

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A person in Thua Thien-Hue province receives food supplies from the military. VIETNAM NEWS AGENCY/VIET NAM NEWS

Thailand, Vietnam caught in the line of fire from increased storm activity

Three storms could be heading Thailand’s way and nine provinces in the Northeastern region could face the direct impact, the Thai Meteorological Department has warned.

Kornrawee Sitthichivapak, the department’s deputy director-general, said tropical storm “Linfa” that is covering Laos has weakened to monsoon depression which would soon reach Thailand’s Northeast, affecting Mukdahan, Roi Et, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani, Sisaket, Surin, Buriram and Nakhon Ratchasima.

The monsoon trough and southwest monsoon are other factors that would increase the volume of rain in provinces in the southern region, such as Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Krabi, Phuket, Phang-nga, Satun and Trang.

Moreover, Thailand might also be confronted by a depression in the South China Sea becoming a tropical storm, while a low-pressure area near the Philippines had the potential of growing stronger.

Vietnam braces for typhoon

Meanwhile, ongoing heavy rains and flooding has killed 20 people in Vietnam’s central provinces, and 14 more have been reported missing, as the country braces for the seventh typhoon to hit this year.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting on Monday afternoon said the low pressure out in the north of the South China Sea (known in Vietnam as the East Sea) had strengthened into a typhoon internationally known as Nangka.

Nangka is forecast to make landfall in the north-central part of Vietnam on Wednesday, while the accompanying rains could cover the central region already battered by torrential downpours over the last few days.

The centre forecast that central provinces would face heavy rains ranging from 150 to 300mm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control issued an urgent letter on Monday asking the bureau to closely supervise the development of the low pressure system and issue warnings to localities and ships.

Ministries, sectors and localities were instructed to cooperate with and supervise boats and ships operating in danger areas, and keep in contact with their owners.

Authorities also instructed boats and ships to find safe harbour and to take measures to ensure the safety of local people and tourists on islands and in coastal areas.

Aquaculture farmers should be kept informed of the development of the low pressure system, the letter said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also asked to contact countries and territories to ask for shelter for Vietnamese fishermen.

Deluge

The ongoing downpour, exacerbated by Typhoon Linfa which hit the central region on Sunday morning before weakening to a low pressure area, destroyed a total of 382 houses and flooded 109,034 others, and damaged 108 sections of national highways and 8.6km of provincial highways.

The disaster caused big losses to agricultural production by destroying 584ha of rice, 3,879ha of vegetable, 2,141ha of aquaculture, whilst killing about 150,700 cattle and poultry.

In Danang, many communes were submerged by rising floods worsened by water discharged from hydropower reservoirs.

As of 7am on Monday morning, the communes of Hoa Phong, Hoa Nhon, Hoa Lien, Hoa Khuong, Hoa Chau and Hoa Tien were badly submerged, affecting the lives of 3,000 local households in 38 hamlets.

In the mountainous districts of Hoa Vang, Lien Chieu and Cam Le, there was high risk of flash floods and landslides.

At present, 882 households in typhoon-affected areas have been moved to safer areas.

Meanwhile, people in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue are entering their fifth day of flooding and heavy rain.

Rainfall of over 1,000mm flooded areas near the Bo River, badly affecting to districts of Phong Dien and Quang Dien, as well as Huong Tra township.

Local people have been suffering from food shortages due to disrupted transport.

Hoang Sinh, a resident of Phong Hien commune, told Vietnam News Agency that his family’s food reserves were running due to the prolonged rain and flooding, and they were down to a few packs of instant noodles and rice.

Tran Duc Thien, chairman of Phong Hien commune, said the local government was trying to reach local households to supply food, drink and medicine.

“The floods surged rapidly and people in low-lying areas could not keep up. Water spilled into their houses submerging them up to 1m,” said Tran Van Hoan from Huong Tra township.

“The whole family had to move to a neighbour’s house. For several days, we only had instant noodles to survive,” said Hoan.

“This is the worst flood since 2006. It has badly affected 70 per cent of local people,” said Pham Cong Phuoc, vice-chairman of Quang Thai commune.

The provincial Steering Committee for Natural Disaster and Rescue reported that as of 6pm on Sunday, three people had died, while seven were injured and another was missing.

Nineteen houses had, and 53,385 houses and 360ha of crops had been flooded.

More than 100km of coastline from Huong River across Huong Tho commune and Huong Tra township was severely damaged by erosion. About 300m of the dyke in Quang Phu commune, Quang Dien district was also hit.

In Hue, more than 50 per cent of roads in 27 wards and 2,560 houses were flooded as of Monday morning.

In Quang Tri province, the flooding dramatically increased on Monday morning.

From late on Sunday night, in the upstream area of the Thach Han River, 152 to 277mm fell in Dakrong district.

The downpour made the water in the Thach Han and O Lau rivers reach alert levels.

The river water levels were forecast to continue rising today and next days.

To cope with the situation, Quang Tri authorities have asked the central government to supply materials and rescue equipment, including two amphibious vehicles, 27 boats, rescue equipment and chemicals for disinfection.

The week-long rain killed six and injured two in the province, with a further six reported missing in the province.

Sections of National Highway 9, the Ho Chi Minh Trail and main roads in the mountainous districts of Dakrong and Huong Hoa have also been badly damaged.

THE NATION (THAILAND), VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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