A thunderous landslide that exploded “like a bomb” has buried a Vietnamese Army barracks, killing 14 military personnel.
About 70 people have died the past week in what is considered the country’s worst flooding in years, including 13 people – mostly soldiers – just days ago.
The loss of military life could be Vietnam’s largest military loss in peace time.
“We’ve never lost so many military members, including two generals and high ranking officials, in natural disasters,” the government said on Facebook.
The mudslide early on Sunday hit the barracks of a unit of Vietnam’s 4th Military Region in the central province of Quang Tri, the government said on its website.
Local official Ha Ngoc Duong was quoted by the VnExpress news site as saying: “From 2am, there have been four to five landslides, exploding like bombs and it feels like the whole mountain is about to collapse.”
Intense rainfall since early October has caused the worst flooding for years, with more heavy rain expected over the next few days.
State media on Sunday reported rivers in Quang Tri province rose to the highest levels in more than 20 years, inundating more than 40,000 houses in the province and killing dozens of people.
In Thua Thien Hue province, rescuers battled driving rain while searching for at least 15 construction workers missing after a landslide at the start of the week in a mountainous area.
Rainfall totalling as much as 600mm is likely to continue in parts of central Vietnam until Wednesday, the country’s weather agency said.
Mini bus passengers killed
Meanwhile, all sixteen people on board a minibus have died after they were buried in tons of mud from a landslide in northern Pakistan.
Rescue workers dug for hours in hope of finding survivors, but called off the search late on Sunday after recovering 16 bodies, including the driver and four soldiers travelling to their posts, local police officer Wakil Khan said.
The bus was pushed into a deep ditch and buried along a mountainous road while travelling to the scenic town of Skardu in the Gilgit Baltistan region from the city of Rawalpindi in Punjab province, he said.
Road accidents are common in Pakistan, mainly due to insufficient enforcement of safety standards and poor infrastructure, particularly on battered mountain roads.
In March, a passenger bus tumbled off a winding mountainous road and into a ravine in northern Pakistan, killing at least 19 people and injuring several others.
Landslides after heavy monsoon rain are also common in the country and cause widespread damage in mountainous areas.
Skardu is located 240 kilometres north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad amid a complex of mountain ranges that includes the Himalayas. The town is the gateway to K2, the world’s highest peak, which is visited by large numbers of local and foreign tourists.