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PM urges greater rescue efforts amidst historic flooding

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 19 urged competent forces to make greater efforts in rescue operations while ensuring safety, as the central region has been ravaged by historic floods.

Speaking at a meeting of standing Cabinet members, PM Phuc asked the natural resources and environment sector, particularly the hydrometeorology agency, to better the forecasting work in order to put forth flexible response scenarios.

He called for the involvement of the entire political system, especially youths, women, relevant forces, donors and residents who are not affected by the natural disasters to join hands in these efforts.

The leader also ordered ensuring the safety of dams and reservoirs, saying suitable response plans and necessary equipment should be ready to save people and handle emerging issues.

He agreed with the proposal by ministries and agencies to initially provide each of the affected provinces with 1,000 tonnes of rice.

Notably, Quang Nam, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces that have been hardest hit by the natural disasters each will receive 100 billion VND (4.31 million USD).

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong reported at the meeting that between October 6-12, central cities and provinces from Nghe An to Quang Ngai suffered from three storms and two tropical depressions, along with a cold spell that have triggered prolonged rains and floods.

The total common rainfall has exceeded 1,000mm, even reaching 2,000-2,500mm in Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, surpassing the record level in 1999.

On October 12 and 18, six provinces from Quang Binh to Quang Nam were submerged, affecting more than 260,000 households, with many areas 2-3m under water. Currently, inundation is hitting about 154,000 households in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

As of 5pm on October 19, the natural disasters left 102 people dead and 25 others missing, and damaged many local agriculture, irrigation and transport infrastructure, the minister said./.