However, as the effects of climate change have become increasingly obvious, abnormal storms like Pakhar are more likely to strike the region, including HCMC, in the future.
| A large ancient tree uprooted by the storm on Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, HCMC |
Photo: Tuoi Tre
These potential storms may be equal to or stronger than Sunday’s storm, which caused damage of various degrees to the city and many southern provinces like Binh Thuan, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Nai.
When it hit HCMC on April 1, Pakhar packed gusts of up to 14 meters per second, equaling a force of 7 on the Beaufort scale, she said.
At yesterday’s meeting to review the damage caused by the storm and repairs of the damage, Nguyen Van Dua, standing deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, expressed the same view, saying that “Amidst the ongoing climate change, such unusual storms like Pakhar are likely to occur in the future and directly affect the city.”
The coping with the storm was an opportunity for city authorities and people to review and strengthen their ability to respond to disasters as well as enhance their awareness of the importance of disaster prevention and control, he said. The storm’s strong winds knocked down 420 houses, uprooted more than 400 trees, sank 11 boats, caused damage to many schools, and felled 85 transmission lines that led to power outage in 137 areas across the city.
It also flooded many areas, with many streets under 30-50 cm underwater in District 7, District 12 and Tan Phu, Thu Duc and Tan Binh District.
The post-storm clean-up has been carried out by relevant agencies, he said.
Be more professional
Le Minh Tri, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, highly appreciated efforts of concerned agencies in coping with the storm, especially in Can Gio District, where more than 1,700 families had been moved to safe places before the storm made landfall.
However, he noted that responses to incidents caused by such a storm should be more professional and effective.
For example, he said, when the storm was sweeping across the city on Sunday evening, the People’s Committee of District 9 called him asking for immediate help in handling a large ancient tree that was likely to fall on to houses. When he ordered a relevant agency to take action, that agency could not do anything since it lacked specialized equipment and tools.
Such poor preparation should not be repeated in the future, he said.
Regarding the many houses and schools damaged in the storm, he asked concerned agencies to identify the causes to form a basis for the city to improve standards of house building to make dwellings more solid, especially in areas vulnerable to storms like Can Gio.
He also said that storm forecasting should be more concrete to enhance vigilance. “Storm forecasts are numerous but they still lack enough detail. The forecast said the area to be affected was from Binh Thuan to Ben Tre Provinces -- a wide geographical area that made many residents in HCMC underestimate the storm.”
The unclear forecast, plus the low awareness of the danger of the storm among part of the public, led to a situation in which many people flocked to Can Gio to actually watch the storm, he said.
Storm kills 3, injures 5 in southern provinces
Two children drowned in Binh Phuoc Province, a person was electrocuted to death, and 5 others were injured in Binh Duong during the storm that hit Southern Vietnam Sunday.
The body of one of the two children who had been swept away on Dong Tien stream in Binh Phuoc was recovered yesterday. The victim was 2-year-old Phung Tien Trinh, of Dong Xoai Town, who had fallen into the stream while playing on its bank.
In Binh Duong, five people were injured, 20 houses collapsed, 383 houses were submerged, and 414 houses had their roofs blown off.
In addition, 725 hectares of fruit trees, 226 hectares of rubber trees, and 122.6 hectares of rice were seriously damaged.
In Dong Nai Province, the storm knocked down or damaged 1,460 houses, flooded 228 hectares of crops and uprooted about 8,500 rubber trees. More seriously, a resident was electrocuted to death.
Yesterday morning the railway route that runs through Bien Hoa resumed operation after 11 hours of suspension due to the storm.
In Ba Ria-Vung Tau, 35 fishermen were rescued after their fishing boat was damaged in the stormy sea 18 nautical miles off Long Dien District.
In Binh Thuan, the storm left a trail of destruction in its wake: 842 roofless houses, 10 collapsed houses, 7 damaged schools, and hundreds of meters of broken seashore.