July 19, 2018 / 9:08 AM / in 4 months

Vietnam warns of floods, landslides after tropical storm Son Tinh hits

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam has warned of floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains after tropical storm Son Tinh made landfall in northern coastal areas, although no casualties were reported on Thursday.

A long coastline makes Vietnam prone to destructive storms and flooding, with 389 people last year in natural disasters such as floods and landslides, the General Statistics Office said.

Son Tinh weakened to a tropical low pressure event by the time it reached Vietnam late on Wednesday, curbing fears of immediate and widespread damage, but raising concerns of flooding.

“Heavy rain is forecast to continue in northern and central provinces, and threatens to cause flash floods and landslides in Hoa Binh, Son La, Lai Chau and Lang Son provinces,” the national weather forecaster said.

The Southeast Asian country had ordered vessels back to port and prepared evacuation plans ahead of the storm, which soaked parts of the Philippines on Tuesday.

Heavy rain of up to 350 mm (13.8 inches) flooded some coastal provinces, affecting nearly 64,000 hectares of rice and 3,200 hectares of cash crops on Thursday, the government’s disaster management agency said.

Floods limited road access to many parts of Nghe An province, 300 km (186 miles) south of Hanoi, state media said.

Last month heavy rains triggered flash floods and landslides that killed 24 people in the remote and mountainous northern provinces of Lai Chau and Ha Giang.

Nghi Son refinery, not far from Son Tinh’s path, was spared. On Wednesday, a company safety official had said it had no plan to suspend operations.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by James Pearson and Clarence Fernandez

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