Vietnamese authorities are bringing in military forces to aid a search and rescue mission after Storm Molave slammed into central provinces and triggered deadly landslides, the government said on Thursday.
As of Thursday morning, thirteen people have been reported killed by two landslides in rural Quang Nam Province, while 40 others remain missing.
“We can forecast the storm path or the amount of rain, but can’t predict when landslides happen,” Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said in a statement, before adding that access roads to the landslide had been buried under deep mud.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said authorities should use any method necessary to rescue victims of the two landslides.
Storm Molave, described by authorities as the most powerful storm to hit Vietnam in 20 years, made landfall on Wednesday morning over the coastal provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai at around 11 am (0400 GMT).
The storm brought 135 kilometre-per-hour wind speeds that uprooted trees and blew the roofs off over 88,000 houses, according to a government statement.
Two fishing boats also sank on Tuesday night as they tried to seek shelter, with 26 fishermen still missing, according to local media.
Central provinces from Nghe An to Quang Binh have been told to brace for torrential downpours until Sunday. With rainfall expected to reach 700 millimetres, the risk of further flooding and landslides is extremely high.
Vietnam’s central provinces have already faced historic flooding, with at least 130 killed by floods and landslides between October 6 and 25.