Hundreds of houses in Quang Binh Province’s Minh Hoa District are submerged in 0.5-4 meters of floodwaters and people have had to move to ‘floating’ houses.
The five-meter “Lu lich su” (Historic flood) column in Tan Hoa Commune in Tan Hoa, erected after a flood in 2010, is mostly under water.
The entire central region has been hit by torrential rains for the last four days. Quang Binh Province has received up to 700 mm in places, and streets in Tan Hoa in Minh Hoa have turned into rivers.
The commune is in a low-lying area surrounded by limestone mountains that create a natural hollow. When there is sustained rainfall, rising water levels in rivers and streams worsen the flooding.
Some houses are fully under water except for their roofs.
Nearly 33,400 houses have been flooded in the central region, including 13,000 in Quang Binh, 17,800 in Quang Tri and 2,000 in Thua Thien-Hue, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.
At least five people were killed and eight others were missing in the region as of Saturday morning, the committee said.
With streets turning into rivers, people have to depend on boats.
More than 2,000 head of cattle have been taken to higher ground.
Truong Thi Huan, 53, and her grandson open the door of their floating house as local authorities come in a motorboat to check.
“I have stocked food for a week. But if the floodwaters do not recede quickly, I have to ask local authorities,” she said.
More than 2,000 families in the commune are marooned and sheltering in floating houses built as shelters to stay during the flooding season.
They are made with wooden frames and covered by corrugated ironor wooded roofs, and float thanks to plastic or metal drums underneath.
The commune has more than 500 of these floating houses.
Some people have piled their furniture on boats and covered them with canvas since they cannot be taken into floating houses.
The floodwaters have risen close to electric cables, forcing authorities to cut off power to ensure safety. People have to use kerosene lamps or candles.
On Friday morning the waters started to recede and the rain was slight.
More than 13,000 houses in Quang Binh Province are still submerged, mainly in Minh Hoa, Quang Ninh and Le Thuy communes.
Around 19,000 people in the region have been evacuated to safe areas since the rains are expected to continue until October 14.