The central region was hit by another cyclonic storm only a fortnight after being devastated by Storm Wutip. Nari, the 11th storm to hit Vietnam this year, made a landfall in the region on October 15.

Five people have been reported dead, three are missing and another 39 injured. More than 1,000 plane passengers have been stranded at airports in the region and a similar number of foreign tourists moved to safety from coastal resorts.

The Central Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Rescue said on October 15 said Nari ripped across the central provinces of Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai.

Three people were killed in Quang Nam at the height of the storm and two children swept away by strong seas in Thua Thien-Hue's Phu Loc district.

Da Nang city and Quang Nam province received the full brunt of the winds. In Da Nang, trees, electricity poles and billboards were smashed to the ground in many streets.

The storm also tore off many roofs and smashed windows in high-rise buildings.

In Quang Nam, it severely damaged more than 5,000 houses in Hoi An, Tam Ky, Dien Ban, Nui Thanh, Duy Xuyen and Tien Phuoc, and sank 45 boats. Many roadside trees were uprooted in urban areas and hundreds of hectares of rubber trees in mountain areas destroyed.

Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri provinces, severely hit by Storm Wutip, suffered again under Nari. The roofs of about 200 houses in Phu Loc district in Thua Thien-Hue were blown away.

In Quang Tri, many houses repaired after being damaged by Wutip were severely damaged again as Nari struck.

In Quang Ngai's Ly Son island district, the storm damaged 100 houses, ruined 350ha of vegetables, and sank 31 boats.

All schools in Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam shut down for two days.

Blackouts affected all of Da Nang city and Quang Nam province. In Thua Thien-Hue, only the municipal centre in Hue continued to be supplied with power. Many districts in Quang Tri also went without electricity.

Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has mobilised resources to reconnect the region to the national power grid after a failure on the 500kV power line. It said on October 15 it it was able to supply only 31 percent of the region's needs.

During the storm on October 15, all road travel was banned between Hue and Da Nang. Two trains were halted in Hue until conditions eased. For the past two days, all flights to Da Nang Airport and Hue's Phu Bai Airport were cancelled.

Vietnam Airlines postponed 44 flights from Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang and Hue. VietJetAir and Jetstar Pacific also cancelled flights to the central region. Passengers had to sleep in airports until conditions improved.

The storm hit the tourism sector in Hue, Hoi An and Da Nang hard. Hoi An authorities had to evacuate 1,200 guests lodged in coastal resorts to safe areas.

The ancient town of Hoi An was brought to a standstill by severe deep flood waters which swirled down streets, submerging cars and filling shops in many streets. Scenes of trees and plants in the hotels and resorts were all ruined because of the storm.

To reserve space for torrential rains, reservoirs in the region were directed to release water, which exacerbated flood conditions in lower regions. Water levels in the Vu Gia and Thu Bon rivers in Quang Nam province rose to critical Level 3 as water rushed down from Dak Mi 4 power-lant's reservoir.

In Thua Thien-Hue, floods on the Huong and Bo rivers also reached Level 3, lifting water height from 0.3m to 0.8m in many areas in Hue city, Phong Dien and Quang Dien districts.

Floods also isolated 100 households in Lang Co town. High sea levels created two new sea entrances along Hai Duong coast in Huong Tra District. The EVN closed 10 power plants in the region at the height of the storm.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat ordered the gradual release of further water from the reservoirs to ease the situation.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on October 15 directed localities and agencies to ensure the safety of reservoirs across the country.

At present, there are nearly 7,000 reservoirs, many of which belong to hydropower plants. However, most of them, especially those located at small- and mid-sized hydro-power plants, were built 30-40 years ago and are vulnerable to degradation.

The PM asked ministries and local authorities to improve the quality of planning and developing reservoirs. The operators and local authorities were also ordered to take drastic measures, including releasing water from the reservoirs and quickly informing people and authorities to avoid losses caused by flood.-VNA