Tropical Storm Podul Causes Huge Damages in Central Vietnam

Severe floods triggered by short-lived tropical storm Podul, the 15th storm to hit Vietnam this year, have caused huge damages and cut off traffic in several areas in central Vietnam over the last three days. The storm weakened into a tropical depression before making landfall in the south central region on Nov 15. Heavy rains with volume ranging between 100 millimeters and 300 millimeters were recorded in several central provinces. The violent floods have killed 31 people, left nine missing and seriously injured 39 others, in addition to damaging nearly 242,190 houses and submerging 1,078 hectares of paddy and 1,827 hectares of other crops, according to the National Search and Rescue Committee. Local rescue forces have been working to move over 63,000 people in Danang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces out of the dangerous and isolated areas to safe shelters. Local officials blamed the great damages on the intentional discharging of water from hydropower dams in the region. Specifically, Dak Mi hydropower plant released 4,000-5,000 cubic meters/second, Song Tranh hydropower plant with 3,000 cu.m /s and Song Bung plant 1,200 cu.m/s. So far this year, the number of storms and tropical depressions hitting the country has climbed to 19, breaking the record of 16 set 49 years ago, said Deputy Director of the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Le Thanh Hai. Podul comes just one week after super typhoon Haiyan moved through the country. Haiyan left 13 deaths and 81 injuries after making landfall in northern Vietnam on Nov 10. (Nguoi Lao Dong –Laborer Nov 18, Nov 18)