A landslide early on Sunday left at least 22 military personnel missing in Vietnam’s central province of Quang Tri, the government said, in what could be the largest military loss in peacetime as the country battles the worst flooding in years.
Intense rainfall since early October has caused floods and mudslides that have killed more than 70 people in central Vietnam, with more heavy rain expected over the next few days.
The landslide hit the barracks of a unit of Vietnam’s 4th Military Region, the government said in a statement on its website, days after another landslide killed 13 people, mostly soldiers, in the neighbouring province of Thua Thien Hue.
“We had another sleepless night,” an emotional deputy defence minister, Phan Van Giang, told reporters on Sunday.
The government later said the bodies of three of the missing personnel have been recovered.
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“We’ve never lost so many military members, including two generals and high ranking officials, in natural disasters,” the government of the Southeast Asian nation said in a Facebook post.
State media on Sunday reported rivers in Quang Tri province rose to the highest water levels in over 20 years.
In Thua Thien Hue province, rescuers battled driving rain in search of at least 15 construction workers missing after a landslide at the start of the week in a mountainous area.
Rain of as much as 600 millimetres is likely to continue in parts of central Vietnam until Wednesday, the country’s weather agency said on Sunday.