Death toll jumps to 230 after Typhoon "Molave" strikes central Vietnam

Death toll jumps to 230 after Typhoon

At least 230 people have lost their lives in flood and landslide events due to severe weather in central Vietnam this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Friday, October 30, 2020. This included 14 confirmed fatalities from two major landslides triggered by Typhoon "Molave" after it made landfall on Wednesday morning, October 28.

Molave, which was described as the country's worst storm in 20 years, triggered two major landslides-- one in Tra Leng and the other in Tra Van.

In Tra Leng, 53 people were buried under the rubbles, of which six have been confirmed dead. 34 people survived, while 13 others remain missing. In Tra Van, 20 people were buried, resulting in eight fatalities and 12 people injured. 

Rescue efforts are ongoing in the commune, despite difficulties in accessing the site due to other landslides in the area. Hundreds of police officers and soldiers have been deployed for the said operations. 

Ho Thi Hau, a 19-year old local, said she witnessed her relatives being hit by the mudslide. "I heard the sound of the ground exploding. When I ran out, I saw that half a hill had collapsed onto the village, burying all the houses and roads."

Nguyen Thanh Son, a 56-year-old man who survived the Tra Leng landslide, said he saw "trees and soil tumbling down very quickly and powerfully." 

"I yelled for others to run away, but we couldn't escape. I was blasted to the front by the sheer force of water and rocks," he continued, adding that he witnessed the catastrophic scene right before his eyes, with other peoples creaming for help amongst the rubble.

"There was a girl who broke her leg and called out for help near me. I picked her up and out of the wreckage. Then I continued to help some other injured people to get out." However, his wife did not make it out alive.

In a meeting on Friday, PM Nguyen confirmed that at least 230 people have died during floods and landslides triggered by severe weather this month in central Vietnam.

"Many of our people, who we have failed to find, remain lost at sea or buried across mountainous areas," he said. "We share the loss of our people in central Vietnam, and of the soldiers and police officers who have lost their lives."

Molave is the fourth tropical cyclone to hit Vietnam this month alone.

Featured image credit: IFRC Asia Pacific

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