Three weeks of flooding has caused huge economic losses and chaos in coastal villages in south central Phu Yen province leaving local leaders at a loss as to how to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster, the like of which has never been seen before.
'Prolonged heavy rains and sea tides have raised the level of underground water, turning the lower ground into massive water containers,' said deputy chairman of Hoa Hiep Bac Commune People's Committee Tran Minh Tien.
'Water from underground veins has risen, flooding houses, roads and crops,' he added.
About 700 houses built on sandy areas in Hoa Hiep Bac, Hoa Hiep Trung and Hoa Hiep Nam communes and part of Tuy Hoa City have been affected.
Tien said local leaders didn't know how to cope with the natural disaster, hoping the flooding would subside naturally, while healthcare centres remained alert for the potential outbreak of diseases.
Meanwhile, the local husbandry industry has been hit hard.
'The province's leading commune in husbandry, Hoa Hiep Bac, has lost about 15,000 birds in the floods,' said Tien.
Half of the 4,000 quails raised by farmer Le Thi Thuong in Phuoc Lam Village drowned in the rising water and her entire house has been 1m deep in water for weeks.
'I had to borrow VND 10 million (US$500) from the bank and from relatives to invest in this flock of birds. How can I pay off the debt now? Life is so miserable!' she said.
Local residents are also living in fear of accidents that might happen due to the prolonged flooding. Wooden houses soaked in water for days are in danger of collapsing and live power cables are hanging dangerously close to the water level in many areas.
'My children were evacuated to a friend's house two weeks ago but my wife and I are still here in the water. I have to wade in and out every day between the interlacing power cables. It's scary but I have no choice,' said Dang Binh whose house in Phu Thach Ward, Tuy Hoa City is also more than 1m deep in water.
Pollution is also becoming a major issue for local residents.
The water has swept rubbish from a dump near Dong Tac Market down to a residential area in Phu Thach Ward.
'The water is filthy and we have to live in rubbish and pollution. We worry that we might die of diseases as a result of all this,' said Nguyen Van Thoi.(VNA)