14 reported dead, missing in northern heavy rains

A serious landslide occurred in Huoi Quang hydropower reservoir area where 2,000 cubic meters of soil buried 70 meters of Highway 279D, completely cut off traffic to the reservoir in Muong La, Son La province.

The province has rushed to remove landslide debris to resume traffic in the area and the work is expected to complete on July 17.

In related news, after moving in the waters south of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, a low pressure zone intensified into tropical low pressure system with wind power reaching level 6-7 travelling 40-60 kilometers an hour yesterday’s late afternoon.

At 7 a.m. today, the system was located in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands. In the next 24 hours, the tropical depression will move northwest at 10-15 kilometers an hour.

It is forecast to continue strengthening into storm on July 16 and locate 190 kilometers east southeast off Hai Phong-Nghe An coast. Strongest winds near the center of the storm will be in the Gulf of Tonkin.  

Being influenced by the tropical depression, the waters in the Hoang Sa Islands have been rough. The middle and southern parts of the East Sea comprising Truong Sa Islands, the waters off provinces from Ninh Thuan to Ca Mau will be choppy with waves measured 2-3 meters high.

The sea area from Ca Mau to Kien Giang province will see shower, thunderstorms and possible cyclones and gusts. Medium to heavy rains will drench the northern and north-central regions from July 16-18 with precipitation forecast to hit 100-300 meters.

As the tropical depression is likely to intensify and head toward the Gulf of Tokin, the Central Steering Center on Natural Disasters Prevention yesterday organized an urgent meeting with Vietnam Electricity, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and northern hydropower companies to discuss solutions to cope with possible flooding caused by heavy rains.

At present, water level in hydropower reservoirs has been higher than the average level in previous years. In places, rainfall was measured up to 2,000mm, equal the whole year rainfall of many years.

Therefore, Tuyen Quang, Son La and Hoa Binh reservoirs might have to release floodwaters in the next couple of days.

Son La reservoir is able to accumulate floodwaters in the next one month, said Mr. Hoang Trong Nam, director of Son La and Lai Chau Hydropower Company.

Experts said that floodwater release will directly affect production in the lowlands and the safety of dam system protecting the Red River delta. So reservoir regulation operations must be calculated carefully to prevent from damaging low lying areas.

By VAN PHUC – Translated by Hai Mien



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