16 October 2017

Phu Cuong commune: a major landslide has killed 18 people in Vietnam

Posted by Dave Petley

Phu Cuong commune: a major landslide has killed 18 people in Vietnam

Over the last few days, heavy rainfall has affected the northern and central provinces of Vietnam.  The most serious incident appears to be a landslide that struck Phu Cuong commune in Tan Lac district, located in the northern province of Hoa Binh.  Latest reports suggest that 18 people were killed in this event.  Eleven has a good report about the impact of this major landslide:

The villagers were asleep when a massive amount of soil and rocks, triggered by heavy rainfall, rolled down an adjacent hill at about 1am Thursday, the newspaper reported. At least eighteen people, most family members, were buried alive.

One of the survivors, Bùi Văn Dũng, 26, was still shaken when recalling the disaster, 35 hours after it happened.

“We were sleeping. It was pitch-dark,” he told Dân Việt. “I opened my eyes to a loud ‘bang!’ and found myself lying under the sky, my legs buried in rocks. Everything was shaking.”

Horrified, Dũng grabbed a flashlight to find his wife and daughter in the same situation some 10 metres away. With his screams for help muted by rumbling sounds, he used the wood beams that were lying around to dig up the dirt and rocks that were crushing his wife and daughter.

The family then ran out of the area, at the sight of massive rocks rolling down from the top of the Khanh Waterfall.

The best images of this landslide can be found in this article by the IBTimes:

Phu Cuong

The site of the landslide at Phu Cuong Commune. Via IBTimes and Viet Dung/AFP


Whilst this image shows the damage caused by the landslide:-

Phu Cuong Commune

The site of the landslide at Phu Cuong Commune in Vietnam. Image via IBTimes and Viet Dung/AFP.


This image, from VietNamNet Bridge, appears to show the site of the landslide:-

Phu Cuong commune

The site of the landslide at Phu Cuong in Vietnam. Image via VietNamNet Bridge.


Note the enormous overhang (now disappeared) and the very obvious rockfall deposit in the foreground.  A major landslide at this site should come as no surprise.

In total the heavy rainfall has left at least 72 people dead, with further rainfall forecast in the days ahead as Typhoon Khanun passes by.