Catastrophic floods hit Vietnam and Cambodia, killing at least 132 people
Hundreds of thousands of homes are submerged and at least 132 people have been killed as some of the worst flooding in decades hits Vietnam and Cambodia, affecting more than 5 million people.
Flooding and landslides caused by seven consecutive tropical storms and torrential rainfall killed 105 people in Vietnam alone and washed away homes, livestock and crops, according to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which is currently providing humanitarian aid to the region.
Viet Nam Red Cross told the ABC that 690,000 poultry and livestock had been killed or swept away, and nearly 200,000 homes were completely submerged.
“These devastating floods are some of the worst we have seen in decades, and they are dealing a staggering blow to the livelihoods of millions of people already reeling from hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the organisation’s president Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu.
He said the Red Cross was ramping up relief operations, working alongside authorities to provide “immediate relief to people by boat, by air and on land, including food, safe water, tarpaulins and other essentials”.
The group told the ABC that conditions were very difficult, with roads cut off and infrastructure destroyed.
Tropical Storm Saudel is predicted to make landfall this weekend, bringing more torrential rain to areas of central Vietnam that are still experiencing heavy flooding.
“We have grave fears that the flooding will go from bad to worse and that it [will] be overwhelming for even the most prepared and resilient communities, with many more typhoons and storms predicted in the next month,” Viet Nam Red Cross told the ABC via email.
The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said the flooding was a “deadly double disaster” following COVID-19.
“These floods are the last straw and will push millions of people further towards the brink of poverty,” Red Cross official Christopher Rassi said.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are in urgent need of emergency shelter, safe drinking water, food, and income support in the coming days and weeks to prevent a larger humanitarian crisis.”
The IFRC added that it had provided about US$325,000 ($460,000) in aid relief so far.
Nguyen Thi Tham lives in Hai Duong City, an area unaffected by the floods, but worries for her family in the Thach Ha district of the hard-hit Ha Tinh province.
“One of my girls had just had a baby and they returned a few days before the floodwaters passed,” she said.
“I’m really scared.
“When they were able to use the phone, they called me on the rooftop waiting for the rescue team.
“It’s really awful, the weather is very cold and everywhere is water. There are many people trapped in their home when the water spills in.”
In neighbouring Cambodia, flash floods have killed at least 27 people since October 19 and adversely affected more than 532,000, cutting access to many hard-hit communities, USAID said.
Video footage showed submerged homes and shops, people wading in neck-high water, and families attempting to salvage their possessions by boat or makeshift rafts.
Conditions are predicted to get worse for residents living close to the Mekong River.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology said the water level in the Mekong would continue to rise over the next six days, causing additional severe flooding in many areas.
By Tracey Shelton & Nazli Bahmani – Australian Broadcasting Corporation News – October 20, 2020