Tag Archives: landslides

Vietnam sniffer dogs search for flood victims


A man drives his motorcycle through a flooded road in Pac Nam district, in Vietnam’s northern Bac Kan province July 6, 2009.

Vietnam sniffer dogs search for flood victims

PAC NAM, Vietnam (Reuters) – Vietnamese soldiers and police used sniffer dogs on Tuesday to search for victims of floods in the north of the country which killed at least 34 people.

Flash floods and landslides from heavy rain on Friday night hit eight northern mountainous provinces in one of Vietnam’s most impoverished areas, with Bac Kan province topping the casualty list with 13 deaths.

Flooding and heavy rain late last week in neighbouring southern China forced 550,000 people to evacuate their homes and killed at least 15, Xinhua news agency reported.

The government said on Tuesday nearly 800 houses in seven provinces had been destroyed or submerged, while floods had damaged rice and corn crops, irrigation systems and roads.

Vietnam is often struck by floods and storms between July and October. The disaster area is far from Vietnam’s main rice and coffee growing regions.

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China quake survivors spend second night in freezing cold

Battling bitingly cold weather and a lack of oxygen, rescue workers clawed with their bare hands through the rubble of homes and schools toppled by the 6.9 magnitude quake that hit Yushu county in Qinghai province on Wednesday.

Officials said medical teams and supplies such as tents and quilts were on their way to the zone, where doctors set up makeshift hospitals to treat victims of the deadliest quake in China in two years.

But thousands spent another night without shelter in freezing temperatures after the quake destroyed almost all the mudbrick and wooden houses in Jiegu, the local capital, and flattened schools.

“I lost my husband and I lost my house,” Gandan, a Jiegu resident, told AFP, her son and daughter at her side. All three were living in a tent with other people, with one bowl of barley to share.

“We don’t know what to do, we have no food,” she said, standing by the tent a stone’s throw from her collapsed mud and brick house.

China quake devastates stunned town

The number who perished rose to 760, including dozens of children, while 11,477 were injured, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting rescue coordinators.

The death toll is expected to rise further, with 243 still buried, and local officials say they were short of medical supplies and large digging equipment.

“The rescue job in this disaster zone faces many difficulties,” said Miao Chonggang, of the China Earthquake Administration, which is coordinating more than 7,000 rescuers.

President Hu Jintao cut short a Latin American tour and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao postponed a trip to Southeast Asia.

Hu told a news conference in Brasilia the quake was “a huge calamity which resulted in big losses of human life”.

Chinese president calls quake ‘huge calamity’

Wen on Thursday visited the quake zone, an underdeveloped area of the Tibetan plateau known as the “Roof of the World”.

“The top priority is to save people. We will never give up even if there is only a slim hope,” Wen told a meeting at the quake-relief headquarters in Yushu, according to Xinhua.

Soldiers, police and firefighters used shovels, iron bars and bare hands to dig through the mangled piles of concrete and rubble from 15,000 toppled homes.

Foreign governments offered help as international aid officials warned that the priorities would be providing shelter, medical aid, food and water and ensuring sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of Internet users have been showing their solidarity with the quake victims by posting virtual flowers in online “mourning halls” and donating to appeals, Xinhua said.

Jiegu lies around 800 kilometres (500 miles) by road from the provincial capital Xining, about 4,000 metres above sea level, meaning rescue workers from outside the region struggled to cope with the lack of oxygen.

The government said electricity and phone links had been restored to dozens of towns but the difficult terrain, including deep canyons, and the bitter cold and remoteness of the area were hampering rescue efforts.

Dazed survivors told harrowing stories of loved ones crushed under their homes.

“There are 10 people in my family and only four of us escaped. One of my relatives died. All the others are buried under the rubble,” Samdrup Gyatso, 17, told Xinhua after his two-storey home crumbled.

Facts on China quake zone

Among the dead were at least 66 pupils and 10 teachers, Xinhua said, quoting local authorities, as grieving parents waited for news near the ruins of the schools, where discarded school books and clothes lay.

Xinhua said a baby boy had been born in a tent near the epicentre shortly after the quake.

“It must be the first life that came to the world after the disaster,” Huang Changmei, a doctor, told the agency.

“The baby brought hope to the ruined place.”

The devastation was reminiscent of the huge quake in May 2008 in Sichuan province, where thousands of children were among 87,000 deaths when their shoddily-constructed schools collapsed.

Schoolbooks strewn in China quake rubble as children perish

Xu Mei, of the education ministry, denied a media report that around 200 children had been buried in the ruins of a primary school in Wednesday’s quake.

In Beijing, Zou Ming, the head of the government’s disaster relief department, said nearly 40,000 tents, 120,000 articles of clothing, 120,000 quilts and food were being dispatched.

Ketsana leaves more than 360 dead across SE Asia

APTOPIX Vietnam Typhoon

Ketsana leaves more than 360 dead across SE Asia

MANILA, Philippines – A new typhoon gathered strength Thursday off the Philippines while nearly 700,000 people still sought help in badly stretched relief centers from massive flooding caused by Ketsana, one of the region’s most destructive storms in years.

Ketsana prompted the worst flooding in the northern Philippines in 40 years when it struck Saturday, and then continued its deadly path across Southeast Asia, blowing down wooden villages in Cambodia and crushing Vietnamese houses under mudslides on Tuesday.

The death toll climbed Thursday to 362, and was still rising.

“We’re used to storms that sweep away one or two houses. But I’ve never seen a storm this strong,” said Nam Tum, governor of Cambodia’s Kampong Thom province.

The immediate threat from Ketsana eased as it was downgraded to a tropical depression as it crossed into a fourth nation, Laos. But its powerful winds and pummeling rain left a snaking trail of destruction.

Meanwhile, another typhoon gained strength as it moved toward the hard-hit northern Philippines. Typhoon Parma was 404 miles (650 kilometers) off the country’s eastern coast Thursday, but was already bringing rain to eastern provinces.

Packing winds of 93 miles per hour (150 kilometers per hour) with gusts of up to 115 mph (185 kph), Parma was expected to hit land Saturday in the northeastern Philippines, weather forecaster Rommel Yutoc said.

Landslides triggered by Ketsana slammed into houses in central Vietnam on Tuesday, burying people including five members of the same family, the government said. The country’s toll rose to 74 as officials recovered more bodies from the muck and swollen rivers, with 179 injured and a dozen missing, the government said late Wednesday.

It said the storm destroyed or damaged nearly 180,000 homes, inundated 150,000 more, and flattened crops across central Vietnam. More than 350,000 people were evacuated from the typhoon’s path, posing a logistical headache to shelter and feed them.

“The scale of the devastation is stretching all of us,” said Minnie Portales, a World Vision aid agency official in the Philippines. The agency said it was scrambling to assess the needs of victims in four countries, including the possibility that Laos would have damage.

Parts of two Vietnamese provinces remained cut off by floodwaters and downed trees and power lines on roads, officials said.

In neighboring Cambodia, at least 11 people were killed and 29 injured Tuesday as the storm toppled dozens of rickety houses and swept away residents in the two provinces north of the capital that were hit. About 100 houses were destroyed and 400 others damaged, said Ly Thuch of the country’s disaster management committee.

Five members of the same family died when their house collapsed as they ate dinner, said Neth Sophana of the Red Cross.

Authorities were searching for more victims and rushing food, medical supplies and plastic sheeting for temporary tents to storm-hit areas.

The cleanup task was enormous.

In the Philippines, officials said 2.5 million people had their homes swamped, and nearly 700,000 were seeking help in relief centers hastily set up in schools and other public buildings — even the presidential palace. The Philippines death toll stood at 277, with 42 people missing.

The international relief effort picked up pace, with condolence messages coming from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, the EU, Japan, Germany and other nations. Many added pledges of aid to help the recovery.

Three helicopters and 30 rubber boats were being sent by the United Nations and would arrive with 72 hours, Teodoro said late Wednesday.

Philippine military spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner said at least 30 U.S. Marines and Air Force personnel who were to attend two annual war exercises in the country would join the relief work, bringing trucks bulldozers and forklifts.

At relief centers, women and children clutching bags of belongings lined up for bottled water, boiled eggs and packets of instant noodles for a fifth day. Men waded through thick, gooey sludge back to their homes to clean up the mess with shovels and brooms.

The government estimated the damage cost at more than $100 million.

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