Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/23/2013 -- The recent heavy rainfall throughout Southeast Asia has caused flooding in many countries in the region. The north of Vietnam has been particularly hard hit with Hanoi being flooded, when Rivers and lakes burst their confines. Laos too, has had a hard time of it.
The north of the country, in particular Luang Prabang and Xayaboury provinces, has been plagued with flooding and landslides. The town center of Luang Prabang had many roads flooded and outlying farm areas have suffered devastating crop losses. It is particularly upsetting for the people here as much work has been done to try and prevent the annual onslaught from the monsoon rains.
Huge landslides have closed roads and damaged buildings throughout the provinces. In Xayaboury, in particular bridges have been washed away, cutting people off entirely. Work has begun already on repairing these important arterial routes. Despite the obvious inconvenience, there is of course the constant and imminent danger of landslides costing lives.
Last week, the Nam Mang River, near Hadkhai village in Borikhamxay province, rose rapidly and submerged nearby houses and farmland. It has been raining for several days as tropical storm Mangkhut passed over the country. The river burst its banks and water on nearby roads reached a depth of three feet in a very short time. Every year these areas are hit despite the government spending billions of Kip in prevention and damage limitation exercises.
With the floods comes the further risk of disease and the government has issued warnings to people not to eat any farm animals killed in the floods. The temptation to do so is great for poor people cut off from assistance, but the results can by catastrophic. Five years ago there were seven fatalities from Typhoid after people ate wild boar, killed in flooding. Every year veterinarians report large numbers of wild and domestic animals killed by flood water. Medical practitioners report that the dangers to health are very real. The strongly urge people to cook food thoroughly, and make sure drinking water is free from contamination. Clothing needs to be washed thoroughly also to protect against conjunctivitis, skin diseases, diarrhoea, typhoid and athlete's foot.
People are further advised to stay clear of swamp lands and other potential mosquito breeding grounds as Dengue fever is affecting many communities at the moment. As flood waters recede, water gets trapped in abandoned car tyres, old tins, buckets and other receptacles, these are prime breeding ares for mosquitoes.
In 2011 two tropical storms, Haima and Nock-Ten plus other torrential rain storms, affected more than 400,000 people in a total of about 1800 villages. In 12 provinces, there were a total of 30 fatalities. It is hoped that diligence will prevent a repeat of these statistics.
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