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Record rainfall inundates Hanoi   2008-11-01 - Thanh Nien News

Thai Ha Street in Hanoi suffered the worst in the heavy rains Friday  
The worst flooding in more than two decades turned many streets in the capital city into torrential rivers Friday, leaving at least three dead and two missing and many vehicles stranded in deep waters.



The deluge began as the skies opened up around 1 a.m. and never let off, thwarting efforts by trucks dispatched to rescue vehicles stuck in flooded areas, authorities said.

The rains, considered the worst since 1984, left many streets under water up to two meters. At least five people were reported dead or missing until late Friday.

Breakdown truck owners said they had worked at full-blast, but their efforts could not make a dent considering the large numbers of motorbikes and cars stranded in the city.

An ambulance is among the vehicles that broke down on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in Hanoi

Many motorbike owners said they had to wait for rescue trucks for hours. Many taxis broke down in Nguyen Luong Bang, Thai Ha, Ton Duc Thang, and Kham Thien streets.

Many taxies were flooded, forcing cabdrivers to climb on the vehicles’ roofs.

Commuters could only move their vehicles a few feet at a time.

Many motorbike mechanics capitalized on the heavy rains to make money.

A spark plug normally sold at VND35,000 (US$2) each fetched VND70,000 Friday.

Until late Friday, traffic to many flooded streets remained cutoff.

Hanoi authorities also reported that many dikes in the city were damaged and around 61,300 hectares of crops submerged, causing losses of hundreds of billions of dong.

Power outages also occurred in several areas of Hanoi and Ha Dong Town, where rainfall was the highest since 1960.

State-run power utility Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said Friday it had instructed agencies concerned to tackle the blackouts at the earliest.

Hanoi was expecting the rains to continue over the next two days, weather experts said.

The Hanoi Water Drainage Company said the city drainage system is equipped to handle only 85mm of rainfall, and the city had received 300mm Friday.

Central regions also hit hard

Non-stop rain continued to batter central provinces Friday with at least 16 people reported dead or missing.


The north-central provinces would experience more heavy rains over the next several days, meteorological experts said Friday.

Water levels in northern rivers have reached the highest emergency level but could not recede, they warned.

The weather would not be favorable for seafaring vessels to put to sea this weekend.

The north-central province of Nghe An, the hardest-hit, said at least 12 people had been swept away by the floods.

The sole route linking Nghe An’s Vinh Town to mountainous districts remained severed until Friday, holding up hundreds of motorbikes and cars.

Many dikes in the province were now in peril and could burst at any time, provincial authorities said.

But despite repeated warnings from local authorities about the dangers posed by the relentless downpours, many residents were still catching fish, capturing floating timber from rivers, or at sea.

A large amount of crops, yet to be calculated, has been destroyed by the floods.

Elsewhere, in Ha Tinh Province, four people have been killed by the floods which also destroyed houses, crops and cattle stocks.

Rescue and repair workers have been working non-stop in the northern and central provinces of Phu Tho, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Tri, and Quang Binh.

The Central Steering Committee for Flood Control and Prevention issued an emergency notice Friday instructing affected provinces to take precautionary measures as the weather would remain unpredictable in forthcoming days.

They were told to reinforce dike systems and evacuate residents to safer ground as quickly as possible.


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