HANOI, Vietnam – It’s not time to travel, but when Nuen Doc Min’s’ wife went to the maternity ward, she got on her motorcycle and drove to the hospital.
The floodwaters that killed scores across Vietnam were rising as a threat around their village. On the washed train overpass, he hired a man to pick them up in a small boat. But as the strong wind blew, the couple took away some of the baby clothes they had tied, Mr. Minh went into the water to retrieve them.
Suddenly, the boat capsized in a fast moving current. His wife, Hong The Boong, a 35-year-old cancer survivor, was inaccessible and he was swept away by water that turned brown with loose sediment.
“Everything happened right before my eyes, but I could not save her,” he said on the phone Thursday. “All I could do was scream.”
The video of the scene in Dua Tien Hu province has caused a stir on social media, expressing grief and sympathy across the country. Ms Boong, the mother of two, was one of at least 114 people killed this month in record-breaking floods off the central coast of Vietnam. Twenty-one people are missing.
More than a quarter of deaths are attributed to landslides. One At least 20 soldiers were killed Last weekend the central province of Guangzhou was the main arena of war during the Vietnam War. This is believed to be the largest military loss in the country in peacetime.
Nuen de Xuan Tu, president of the Vietnam Red Cross, said the floods were one of the worst the relief team had seen in decades.
“Everywhere we look, houses, roads and infrastructure are submerged,” he said.
Storms are a living reality with a 2,000 mile coastline in Vietnam. The hurricane will hit the central provinces during the rainy season, which begins in late summer. Tourists visiting Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the central coast, are amazed to see its narrow streets suddenly turn into canals like Venice.
Scientists have pointed to climate change as the main driver of frequent and dangerous storms around the world. Authorities in Vietnam are well prepared for natural disasters, but an increase in hurricanes, rains and floods this month has inundated some coastal provinces. As of Thursday, 178,000 homes in central Vietnam were flooded, according to the United Nations.
Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pam Binh Minh Said on Twitter This week the country “faced a difficult time with huge losses.”
Now, as rescue troops struggle to reach other flood victims by land, air and sea, Vietnam is putting an end to its third major storm in three weeks. Hurricane Sutel was moving through the South China Sea on Friday and was expected to cause a landslide on Sunday – several villages already underwater in the same coastal areas.
This month’s rainfall is “very unusual”, according to Pamela McGlvey, a professor of human ecology at Rutgers University in Vietnam.
The rest of Asia has received record rainfall. Earlier this year, torrential rains submerged the area At least a quarter of Bangladesh. Unusually heavy rain The catastrophe in central and southwestern China has claimed hundreds of lives and hampered the economy’s post – epidemic recovery. Floods in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Nepal kill large numbers of people and destroy homes And engulfed entire villages.
In Vietnam, heavy rain is expected in the flat plains of the Red River before it empties into the sea via the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, southeast of the Chinese border. But in central Vietnam, where there are population centers between the mountains and the coast, the chances of catastrophic flooding are very high.
“The earth is soaked in water and can’t go anywhere,” Professor McLevy said. It also does not help that tree removal in the mountains for hydropower dams or that mountain roads are built in ways that weaken the soil.
He added that flooding is a lesson for those who believe that creating more infrastructure for the climate crisis is the silver bullet solution.
In the Central Province, Mrs. Boong and Mr. E wiped out a life, extreme weather is very common, which enlivens local folk sayings.
“When it is hot, heaven burns like rocks in the field. When it rains, the fields rot and the sand starts to stink, ”he said.
For years, the couple was too busy to worry too much about the weather. He was involved in construction when he worked in an assembly line in a garment factory. She also won breast cancer.
Last week, Mrs. When Boong went to the maternity ward, Mr. E shot his motorcycle and told his brother-in-law to follow him on a separate bike with his wife’s luggage. When they reached the railway overpass, he rented a boat to take them in a taxi to the other side across a flooded one.
After he got off the boat to retrieve the baby clothes, it drowned his wife in the floodwaters. He was close enough to watch her hands move as the current pulled her down, he said.
Authorities mobilized a search party of more than 100 people, but it was too late. Ms. Poonk’s body was found about 300 feet down.
As of Friday, the search effort and Ms. Park’s funeral had been viewed more than a million times, and Mr. E and the couple’s daughter and son are now donating to 12 and 13 year olds.
In a video recorded at the scene after the crash, on a path of water, Mr. Minh can be seen bending to the ground in a prayer-like position.
“God,” he said. “my dear.”
Zhou Ton reported from Hanoi, Vietnam and Mike Yves from Hong Kong.
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