More flooding on the way for Vietnam

Much of Southeast Asia has seen excessive rains over the past few months

    Over the past two months, over 150 people have been killed by the flooding in Thailand [EPA].

    Tropical Depression Haitang is bringing yet more rain to an already saturated region.

    For the past two months, the rainy period has been particularly ferocious. The months of May to October always bring abundant rain to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and parts of Vietnam, but this year the amount of rainfall has been extreme.

    Part of the reason for the excessive amount of rain is La Nina, a slight cooling of the waters of the Pacific that is known to disrupt the weather around the world. The La Nina conditions were seen to ease in June, but the influence on the atmosphere was still being seen.  Then, before things had had a chance to return to normal, the La Nina conditions had returned, disrupting the weather once more.

    One of the impacts that La Nina has on the weather is to bring wet and cool conditions to India, Pakistan and southeast Asia and southern China. It is not coincidental that all of these regions have seen an increase in the amount of flooding this year.

    For Thailand, the rains have been most devastating in the north and 23 provinces remain flooded. The problems have been continuing for two months, and it is believed that the death toll has now reached 154, with three more still missing.

    The latest victims were in the Fang district of Chiang Mai, a mountainous region in the north of the country. A nine-month-old baby and his two year old brother were tragically swept away by flash floods.

    In neighbouring Cambodia, the floods have also been widespread. The incessant rains have caused the Mekong river to overflow, leaving large areas waterlogged and disaster officials have put the number of dead at 58.

    The rains have also affected the famous temples of Angkor Archeological Park. On Thursday, flash flooding cut off a road leading to the site, meaning that nearly 200 visitors had to be airlifted to safety.

    Vietnam is another country suffering from this year's excessive rains. In central Vietnam, flooding is almost an annual event, but this year the rains have started early. The heaviest rains in Da Nang, in the centre of the country, normally fall in October, when the city sees a staggering 530mm rain. However, heavy rains have been reported here for the past few weeks, and this is just the start of the wet season.

    To make matters worse, a tropical depression is now threatening the region. Tropical Depression Haitang is expected to make landfall on Tuesday, just to the north of Da Nang. Haitang isn't expected to have particularly damaging winds by the time it makes landfall, but the amount of rain to the region will certainly be a problem.
    The remains of the storm will then track across Laos and into northern Thailand, bringing yet more flooding to an already saturated region.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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