Viet Nam

Viet Nam - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published

Ref: GVA/99/0245
Vietnam - Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
7 December 1999

1. Situation

One month after the central coastal provinces of Vietnam were inundated by the worst floods the country has experienced this century, the same region has suffered heavy rains and new, extensive flooding. These new floods occurred just as rehabilitation measures were being undertaken in order to help stabilize the lives of the people in the central provinces. According to the update issued by the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control (CCFSC) on 7 December 1999, the damage wrought by the downpour from 1 to 6 December is as follows (excerpt):

Combined cold air currents and strong easterly winds over Thua Thien Hue and stretching as far south as Khanh Hoa, have caused such heavy rainfall that the central provinces of Vietnam are facing a renewed bout of floods. Mean rainfall between 1 to 6 December averaged 300 - 500 mm in Thua Thien Hue province, 600-1000 mm in Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Khanh Hoa provinces, and in some parts of Quang Ngai and Quang Nam rainfall averaged as much as 2000 mm.

The rains caused flash floods in mountainous areas. Notably the Tra Khuc River in Quang Ngai reached levels unsurpassed since 1964 (alarm level III), and river levels in Quang Ngai and Khanh Hoa were higher than any recorded for these provinces over the last 40 years.

Since 6 December rainfall has diminished and water levels in rivers flowing through Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Da Nang and Binh Dinh are now fluctuating around alarm level III, while in the other affected provinces they have descended to alarm level II and below. However, the coastal delta areas of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh are still seriously flooded. Details of flooding and inundation in the central provinces are as follows:

Quang Nam Province: the provincial capital and four other districts are under water. Hundreds of houses are flooded and tens of thousands of people cannot return to their homes. Evacuees are in need of food, medicine and other basic items.

Quang Ngai Province: 15 communes situated in delta districts and 58 communes in mountainous districts are inaccessible to relief workers.

Binh Dinh Province: Hoai Nhon District and areas surrounding Quy Nhon City have been isolated by flood waters.

Transportation: Six sections of National Highway no. 1 are under 0.3 to 1.7m of water. The North-South railway is still blocked in one place in Quang Ngai. It is estimated that traffic will resume as from 9 December.

2. Impact

At 19:00 on 6 December, UNDP figures available to UNDP Hanoi related the following damages:

December floods
October/November floods
People killed
People evacuated
11,475 households
15,000 households
Houses damaged/collapsed
397,232 destroyed
5,359 (collapsed or swept away)
Paddy crops destroyed
28,779 ha
Total damage
VND 3,300 billion
(USD 237 million)
Today's preliminary figures reflect a death toll of 115 with one person still missing.

3. Emergency relief requirements

According to all available reports, Quang Ngai and Quang Nam are the two worst affected provinces. In the short term the most urgently needed emergency supplies are food, clothes, blankets and mosquito nets. Rice and vegetable seeds are in very short supply, particularly as the seeds provided over the last two weeks to counter November flood damages have in many cases been decimated by the latest disaster.

4. National response to the early December floods

On 4 December the Prime Minister requested the Provincial People’s Committees and other relevant agencies in provinces from Thua Thien Hue to Khanh Hoa to monitor the relief missions with a view to minimizing loss of life and property. On the morning of 5 December, the Prime Minister paid a visit to the CCFSC to direct emergency response and mitigation activities.

The Provincial People's Committee of Binh Dinh and the Southern Foods Corporation sent 124 tons of instant noodles to Quang Ngai. 100 tons of instant noodles were collected in Da Nang City. 40 tons of these were distributed in Quang Ngai and 60 tons in Quang Nam. The Ministry of Industry directed all the corporations under its administration to empty their stocks of raincoats in order to help people in flooded areas (Quang Ngai and Quang Nam received 100,000 raincoats).

The Ministry of Defence sent helicopters to Quang Ngai to transport commodity packages including lifeboats and urgently required relief goods. The Provincial People's Committee of Quang Nam mobilized 1,200 soldiers equipped for relief activities and sent these forces to protect Phu Ninh Reservoir over the night of 3 December. Provincial Police Services from Thua Thien Hue to Khanh Hoa are co-operating with all other agencies in rescuing people and property, maintaining security, and ensuring safe transportation in flooded areas. At the request of the CCFSC field agency authorities are directing registration and distribution of relief items.

The CCFSC will focus on minimizing the consequences of the floods by overseeing health care, the repair of water resource systems and eroded dykes as well as roads and railway track, and preparing seeds, livestock, veterinary medicine and environmental sanitation for the resumption of agricultural activity once floodwaters recede.

5. International response

The United Nations Disaster Management Team in Hanoi is meeting regularly to coordinate relief activities undertaken by the in-country UN-System in response to the floods which occurred in October, November and December 1999. Further information can be obtained from the UN-Disaster Management Unit website:

OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.0, Swift code: UBSWCHZ-12A at the UBS AG, P.O. Box 2770, CH - 1211 Geneva, with reference: OCHA - Vietnam - Floods. OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

Donors are requested to notify OCHA Geneva of any contributions to this disaster using the "OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format", available electronically in the Financial Tracking Website:

This situation report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone number: +41-22-917 12 34
In case of emergency: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack/Mr. R. Mueller/Mr. S. Matsuka, OCHA Disaster Response Branch, direct Tel. +41-22-917 21 44 / 31 31 / 40 34

Press contact: Ms. E. Ponomareva, direct Tel. +41-22-917 23 36

Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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