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October Natural Disasters Leave 235 Dead or Missing, Cost Vietnam $730m: Report

As October comes to an end, Vietnam’s central region is reckoning with major devastation and fatalities.

In a recent report by the Vietnamese government to the National Assembly, authorities gave a general overview of this year’s natural disasters, especially the consecutive events that took place in October.

Tuoi Tre quotes statistics from the report showing that so far, storms and flash floods in central Vietnam have cost the country VND17 trillion (US$730 million), resulted in 235 fatalities and missing people, and damaged over 200,000 private homes, in addition to numerous infrastructures like dykes, bridges, promenades, schools and utility poles.

“The series of consecutive storms and flash floods, which has not occurred in many years, caused major losses in human lives and assets, heavily impacting the livelihood and production of millions of citizens in the region,” the report reads.

The five most recent typhoons, from No. 5 to No. 9, were responsible for most of the destruction of provinces in the northern and middle stretches of central Vietnam. The season’s 9th storm, named Molave, made landfall on October 28 with intense winds and gusts reaching over 200 km/h. “This [Molave] was the biggest storm in the last 20 years, arriving right after central Vietnam was just pummeled by previous storms and floods,” the report notes.

Across the region, rainfall levels of 1,000–2,000 millimeters were commonplace, with some localities even recorded over 3,000mm of rain such as Huong Linh (Quang Tri), A Luoi (Thua Thien-Hue), Bach Ma (Thua Thien-Hue). The unprecedented amount of water caused flash floods on 16 of the area’s major rivers. The Bo River, Thach Han River, Hieu River, Kien Giang River and Thu Bon River all experienced record-breaking levels of flooding.

In response to the calamity in central Vietnam, the Vietnamese government approved VND1 trillion and 11,500 tons of urgent rice from national reserves as aid to the hardest-hit provinces. It plans to increase the amount by 9,000 tons in the future.