PM urges emergency response to floods and dam safety

Wednesday, 2017-10-11 09:56:31
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Floods sweeping through areas adjacent to Nung stream in Nghia Lo town, in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently issued an urgent telegraph calling for the implementation of emergency measures in response to floods and to ensure the safety of dam systems against the complex development of floods in northern and central regions over the past few days.

>>> Tropical low depression brings heavy rain, flooding to northern and central regions

Due to the influence of a recent tropical low pressure mixing with cold air, the north and north central provinces have suffered heavy rains over the past few days, with the total rainfall ranging from 200-300 mm, with extremes of 400-600 mm through Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh, causing flooding and isolating several residential areas in the lowlands and areas adjacent to rivers and streams.

Heavy rains in the basin of Hoa Binh hydroelectric reservoir caused a large flood with the flow to the lake at over 14,700 m3/s, a rate which may continue to increase. Hoa Binh reservoir has opened all seven consecutive bottom outlets to discharge water. This is an unusually large flood after the flood season in the North and also the largest flood ever in October for Hoa Binh reservoir.

At present, floods on river systems of the Da, Thao, Hoang Long and Ma are likely to rise rapidly. In particular, as of tomorrow morning, the water level on the Ma River across Giang commune in Thieu Duong district (Thanh Hoa province) will be on par with that in the two historic floods of 1980 and 2007 which caused severe flooding in Thanh Hoa.

It is forecasted that the floods will be very complicated, especially in the Red, Hoang Long and Ma Rivers, as well as in Thanh Hoa, Hoa Binh and other mountainous provinces in the northwestern region.

Suoi Bua Bridge in Gia Phu commune of Son La province’s Phu Yen district was washed away by flooding. (Credit: NDO)

To limit the damage caused to people and property, the Prime Minister requested the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control, the National Committee for Search and Rescue, and concerned ministries and localities to take the initiative in implementing emergency measures to cope with floods, focusing on inspecting and evacuating households in dangerous areas prone to landslide and floods, while accessing isolated residential areas due to flooding to assist locals and enhancing control and traffic guidance in submerged areas, as well as protecting dykes and dams and preparing forces and the means to cope with unusual incidents.

For localities in the downstream area of the Red River system, especially those beneath the Hoa Binh Hydropower Dam, it is necessary to closely monitor the development of floods and the plan for flood discharge of the hydroelectric lake and to immediately deploy flood prevention and protect dykes.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Electricity of Vietnam and hydropower dam management units were urged to implement measures to ensure the safety of dams, reservoirs and power systems, contributing to reducing flooding for downstream areas and minimising damage to agricultural and fisheries production.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should direct the close monitoring of floods and rains, increase the density of forecasts for the operation of reservoirs and provide information to mass media agencies to provide timely information to the people so they may actively respond.

Flood water on Highway 37 blocks the road to the town of Phu Yen, Son La. (Credit: NDO)

The Ministry of Information and Communications shall direct the Vietnam Television, Radio the Voice of Vietnam and other media agencies to increase the frequency and duration of broadcasting to promptly report the occurrence of rains and floods.

The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control was asked to hold regular meetings to closely monitor the occurrence of rains and floods and promptly direct relevant ministries, sectors and localities to deploy coping measures.

On October 11, the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control issued Telegraph No. 77/CĐ-TW to concerned provinces and cities and a number of ministries, requesting the strengthening of the response to floods in the event of unusual weather conditions.

Wednesday afternoon, in the face of unusually heavy rainfall in the north and north central provinces, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung hosted an emergency meeting with members of the above Central Steering Committee to direct response measures.

According to initial statistics, floods caused major human losses with 20 dead and 12 missing, mostly in the provinces of Nghe An, Hoa Binh, Son La and Yen Bai.

Flood water suddenly rises upstream on the Red River flowing through Lao Cai city. (Credit: NDO)

Floods have isolated many houses across localities in the northern and central regions.