Intense thunderstorms battered provinces in northern Vietnam from April 22 to 24, 2020, resulting in at least three fatalities, 13 people injured, ravaged crops, and almost 6 000 damaged homes.
The storms began Wednesday, affecting the provinces of Ha Giang, Vinh Phuc, and Lai Chau-- the area's sixth hailstorm since March. Reports said the hail was up to 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter.
In Ha Giang, about 810 houses were damaged in the districts of Hoang Su Phi, Xin Man, Yen Minh, Dong Van, and Meo Vac. Winds blew off roofs of 229 homes in Xin Man, while 139 houses in other districts were hit. The damages are estimated to be around 94 000 dollars or 2.2 billion dongs.
According to Then Van Tien, an official of Xin Man commune in the province, heavy rain, hail and strong winds ravaged crops and caused damage to roads.
Lu Van Sanh, a resident of the Chie Pho commune in the district of Hoang Su, said his roof was entirely torn off, while two of his buffaloes were struck by lightning.
In Lai Chau, the hailstorm lasted for around 30 minutes, impacting houses and crops in the districts of Tan Uyen, Tam Duong, Nam Nhun, Muong Te, Phong Tho, and Lai Chau City. Affected residents had been relocated to safer areas, said Vu Xuan Tinh, the vice chief secretariat of the office of Steering Committee for Natural Disasters Prevention, Search, and Rescue.
The severe weather continued into Thursday, with witnesses stating that the hailstorm came after strong winds, destroying more homes and injuring at least 13 people.
Authorities said that although flooding affected some cities, days of heavy rain helped ease the drought in Vinh Phuc.
On Friday, April 24, three fatalities were reported as thunderstorms hit several mountainous provinces. One person died in Ha Giang province after being hit by a fallen tree. Another person lost his life when his house collapsed following a rockslide.
The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VNRC) Central Committee announced that it will provide a relief package worth more than 12 000 dollars or 270 million dongs in cash and kind to the victims. Financial assistance will be given to households with injured people and damaged houses, prioritizing the poor and disabled, as well as the elderly and those with children below age five.
Tinh noted that hailstorm is a rare occurrence in Vietnam. However, last month, the northern region was battered by severe storms with hail that lasted for 30 to 40 minutes.
The National Center for Hydrometeorology Forecasting said temperatures in northern and north-central provinces will drop to 15 to 18 °C (59 to 64.4 °F) into Sunday, April 26. Some northern mountainous provinces may see less than 14 °C (57.2 °F).
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