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Floods, landslides pummel Lao Cai, no deaths reported

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LAO CAI — Floods and landslides, triggered by two days of rain, have wrecked havoc and caused traffic congestion in many areas across the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.

According to Ma Quang Trung, head of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a total of 245 households suffered submerging and loss of property while two houses were completely swept away.

Fifty hectares of farm land and 5ha of fishing pools were flooded with water, he said.

Trung added that, although a local person suffered an electrical shock, no casualties were reported.

Local residents living around the Ngoi Duong Stream said that they had experienced the heaviest rainfall in 50 years.

The Hospital of Traditional Medicine in Cam Duong Commune, Lao Cai City, was hard hit as dirt and mud submerged almost all of its rooms, causing serious damage to hospital equipment and documents.

Meanwhile, landslides caused traffic congestion in around 15 spots on route from Lao Cai City to mountainous Sa Pa District. All congestion spots were cleared yesterday.

According to the Committtee for Flood and Storm Control in Bao Yen District, a Ha Noi-Lao Cai train was stuck for nearly three hours because of landslides near two train stations.

Tran Quoc Doan, chairman of the Cam Duong Commune People's Committee, said that authorities had mobilised all resources, including police and civil defence staff, to help locals recover from the devastation caused by flooding.

Authorities also provided people with food, water and medicine.

On the same day, Bui Thi Kim Dung, deputy head of the provincial People's Committee, paid a visit to the affected areas to provide additional support.

At Dung's request, each household who lost property would be given VND2 million (US$93), while those who only suffered slight losses would be given support in terms of food and water.

She called on authorities to take urgent steps in order to ensure that the coming election would take place as scheduled.

Trung, from the Agriculture Department, said that local authorities would meet today in order to discuss matters.

According to the provincial Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Centre, maximum rainfall measured at 97.5mm in Sa Pa District and 95.5mm in Bao Yen District yesterday, much higher than the average normal provincial rain fall of 20-40mm. — VNS

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