Description of the disaster
The central region of Viet Nam was experiencing prolonged heavy rain since 6 October 2020. This is due to the combination of numerous weather systems – the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone combining with cold air as well as tropical storms Linfa and Nangka. Tropical Storm Linfa made landfall in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces in Central Viet Nam in the morning of 11 October 2020 and brought along 150 to 300 millimetres of rain. Tropical Storm Nangka made landfall in the morning of 14 October 2020 in the northern provinces of Viet Nam which brought along a further 150 millimetres of rain. On 16 October 2020, another tropical depression (Tropical Depression INVEST 94W) made landfall in the central provinces of Viet Nam. Additionally, Tropical Storm Saudel hit Viet Nam on 25 October closely followed by Typhoon Molave on 28 October. Typhoon Molave was one of the most devastating typhoons making landfall in Vietnam in decades. The typhoon made landfall after a series of tropical storms hitting Viet Nam and had caused severe flooding and at least three landslides which tragically resulted in the loss of 40 lives. 44 people are still missing, and six people are severely injured. On 5 November, Typhoon Goni made landfall in Viet Nam and Tropical Storm Atsani made landfall on 7 November. Tropical storm Vamco, was the latest to hit central Viet Nam as it made landfall on 15 November 2020.
The recurrent storms bringing heavy rainfall have caused water levels in rivers to rise rapidly. The Viet Nam National Disaster Management Agency (VNDMA) has reported that many areas in central Vietnam recorded accumulated rainfall of more than 1,600 millimeters between 5 to 20 October 2020, with peaks of 2,400 millimeters in some locations over the same period. The Hieu River (Quang Tri), Bo River (Hue), Gianh River and Kien Giang River (Quang Binh) have reached historically high levels, and in some locations flood waters have exceeded the previous historical highs recorded in 1979 and 1999. In addition, hydropower plants began releasing water from reservoirs to prevent them from bursting.
Consequently, large-scale floods appeared in the provinces from Nghe An to Quang Ngai province, with major floods concentrated in places from Quang Binh to Quang Nam province. Click here to see the map of affected areas.
Authorities estimate that a nearly eight million people have been exposed to the storms, and some 1.5 million people have been directly affected by the storms and floods. On 4 November, ahead of typhoon Goni’s landfall, 98,819 households (372,631 people) in six provinces (Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen) were evacuated to safe shelters. Similarly, evacuations took place on 7 November in anticipation of typhoon Atsani, and on the 15th November ahead of typhoon Vamco’s landfall additional evacuations have been carried out in seven provinces of central Viet Nam with a total of 93,795 households (324,780 people) evacuated to safer places (Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai).
Most of the people who had been evacuated have now returned home after their local authorities’ approval. They are actively repairing their homes with the help of their relatives. However, according to the VNDMA 31,637 households must be urgently relocated because they lost their shelter or their houses which have collapsed or been too heavily damaged, and they are now living with host families. After the latest typhoon (Vamco), according to the VNDMA, at least 243 are reported to have been killed or are missing and over two million livestock have been killed or swept away. The floods have caused significant damage to infrastructure including roads, schools, health centres and community facilities. It is reported that 1,569 schools have been affected included 360 schools flooded or damaged, while 46,916 hectares of agricultural land have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people are now in desperate needs of emergency relief, such as safe shelter, safe drinking water, food and livelihood income support.