HONG KONG – A major flood threat to the Hmong cultural capital of Ho Chi Minh City was raised on Thursday after heavy rain swept across the capital and forced its main square to be closed for the second time in two days.
The National Emergency Committee (NEC) warned that flooding could continue and warned people to be prepared for possible damage from the weather, according to a report from the state-run media agency Xinhua.
The area has been hit by heavy rains for three days.
A spokesman for the city government told Xinhua that “a huge wave of water was detected on the city’s riverbank in the afternoon on Wednesday morning” and said the flooding could be “widespread” as it was not a matter of a few inches.
The government said it was monitoring the situation and asked people to “immediately evacuate” to avoid serious consequences.
The water in the riverbed has caused some damage to the city hall and other buildings and led to flooding in nearby towns and villages, Xinhua reported.
The floodwaters are the second to hit the Hanoi-Beijing area since the beginning of October.
Floods also hit the city of Hanoong and the southern city of Hungnam, causing major damages.
Last week, the capital’s river was breached and floodwaters overflowed into the city, forcing authorities to close it.
On Wednesday, authorities declared a flood emergency in Ho Chi Maxh City, a heavily populated coastal city in central Vietnam, and evacuated some 300,000 people from their homes, local media reported.
“We have received reports that flooding in the city is on the rise, and that the flood risk is very high,” an NEC official told Xinwenews.
“The government has decided to evacuate the city.”
The official said the flood danger had been raised to “major”, according to Xinhua, and residents were advised to be on the move.
A similar warning was issued for other areas of Ho Chiang province, where some 30,000 residents were evacuated from their houses as floodwaters hit the region, Xinhuanet reported.
Residents were advised “to evacuate their homes in order to avoid possible damage to property,” it said.
Ho Chi Minhs population is estimated to be around 30 million, and it is the largest Hmong community in Vietnam, which shares a 1,400-km (800-mile) border with Laos.
It is the first time the capital has been forced to evacuate residents since March last year, when the region was hit by a severe typhoon.