A man goes by boat on flood water in Phuc Dong commune of Huong Khe district, Ha Tinh province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Northern central provinces are making utmost efforts to deal with severe floods that have led to widespread damage over the last few days.

The standing board of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control had a meeting on October 16 to direct flood response in the region.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang, who is also deputy head of the committee’s standing board, asked the affected localities to keep a close watch on the rainfall and flood situation, expeditiously search for the missing and repair roads, and evacuate people in areas prone to flash flood and landslides.

Reservoirs must be examined while their release of water must ensure the safety for residents in lower areas. They must also keep an eye on typhoon Sarika, which has entered the East Sea on October 16 morning, and informed vehicles working at sea about it, he added.

Heavy rains and floods in the region, including Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, have claimed 15 lives and injured 18 people while nine others went missing.

Nearly 100,400 houses, 1,600ha of rice and over 3,000ha of aquatic farming areas have been inundated with floodwater. Thirty-six positions on national roads have been under water or eroded, leading to traffic congestion, according to the committee’s standing office.

On late October 15, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung led a delegation of the central steering committee and the National Committee for Search and Rescue to Quang Binh to steer response activities.

From October 13-15, the province recorded a rainfall of between 600-900mm, especially up to 920mm in Dong Hoi city and 950mm in Ham Ninh commune, triggering widespread floods, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Hoai said, adding that Quang Binh suspended all meetings to focus on coping with the deluge, including evacuation and food and water delivery to flood-hit areas.

Also on October 15, a Prime Minister document was sent to the affected provinces and relevant ministries to farm out specific tasks and urge them to make all-out efforts to handle the flood.

It said that due to a concurrent tropical depression and cold spell, downpours with rainfall of between 300-400mm were reported in the provinces from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue from October 12. Flood levels in downstream rivers continue rising, and there is high risks of flash flood and landslide in mountainous areas.

In the face of the serious flood damage, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Red Cross Society has decided to provide initial emergency relief worth 1.97 billion VND (over 88,600 USD) in cash and goods for Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.-VNA