Vietnam floods kill 41, survivors 'destitute': officials
Flooding in central Vietnam has killed 41 people and left survivors destitute, officials said on Tuesday, as relatives of at least 15 missing bus passengers watched rescuers scour a river for their loved ones.world Updated: Oct 19, 2010 11:02 IST
Flooding in central Vietnam has killed 41 people and left survivors destitute, officials said on Tuesday, as relatives of at least 15 missing bus passengers watched rescuers scour a river for their loved ones.
The heavy rains that began late last week have washed over three provinces: Nghe An, Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh, where police said a bus disappeared in the flood waters early on Monday on the main North-South Highway 1A.
State television said that hundreds of soldiers, using boats and metal detectors, were mobilised to search for the bus passengers.
Police and local residents also joined the search, which was hampered by strong currents, Tran Van Long, deputy head of Nghi Xuan district police said.
"We think the bus carried between 33 and 37 people. Eighteen people have been rescued," Long said. "We haven't been able to locate the bus as the water has been so strong."
He said that about 50 relatives of the missing were at the scene beside the swollen Lam River, near Vinh city, where rain had stopped and water was gradually receding.
"The disaster has left thousands of people in the province penniless after their assets were swept away in the flood waters. They have nothing left to eat or drink," the chairman of Ha Tinh's local government, Vo Kim Cu, was quoted as saying in the state Vietnam News on Tuesday.
Authorities said more than 150,000 homes had been flooded but emergency supplies including dry noodles, drinking water, medication, and life jackets have been sent to affected areas.
The international Red Cross on Monday appealed for more than one million dollars in aid for victims of the flooding, the second major inundation to hit the central region in October.
Flooding earlier left at least 64 people dead in Quang Binh and other central provinces.
"The country is finding greater intensity of floods, greater intensity of droughts," the World Bank's vice-president for sustainable development, Inger Andersen, told AFP late Monday in Vietnam.
Andersen, who is on an Asian tour, said climate change was the biggest sustainable development challenge facing Vietnam.
"Managing floods and droughts... becomes absolutely key to mitigating against climatic shocks and climatic events," she said.