Update: 20:26 | 30/11/2020
A pass connecting highlands town Da Lat and beach resort Nha Trang in central Vietnam has been blocked since Sunday.
Torrential downpours since Saturday night sent 2,000 cubic meters of rock and soil down onto Khanh Le Mountain Pass, also known as Hon Giao, Long Lanh or Omega, which stretches 33 km (20.5 miles) from Nha Trang to Da Lat.
Landslide has blocked Khanh Le Pass that links two resort towns Nha Trang and Da Lat in central Vietnam, November 29, 2020.
Vo Van Lam, 46, was driving a 45-seat bus carrying more than 30 passengers from Nha Trang of Khanh Hoa Province to Da Lat of Lam Dong Province on Sunday afternoon.
He recalled it was raining cats and dogs on National Highway 27C, with water flowing down Khanh Le Pass "like a waterfall."
In Son Thai Commune of Khanh Hoa’s Khanh Vinh District, debris blocked the entire pass, forcing Lam to reverse up to 50 m.
By the evening, Lam was still stuck on the pass. "We stopped there for five hours, with many other vehicles in the same situation."
Ta Thanh Tinh, head of Road Administration Department III, which manages 280 km of national roads across Khanh Hoa, said the pass was cleared for traffic from 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.
According to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Center, a combination of a cold spell and winds from the east resulted in heavy rains that started from November 29 and are expected to last until Tuesday in central and south-central regions.
During this period, the amount of rain could remain at 140-280 mm on average, up to 300 mm in south-central localities, and up to 150 mm in the Central Highlands. Rainfall of 180 mm in 24 hours is considered heavy.
The center also warned of flash floods and landslides in the area.
On Sunday, two female tourists had been swept away by flash floods as they walked across a suspension bridge in the Bidoup - Nui Ba National Park in Lam Dong. The two remain missing.
By Sunday night, floods had submerged many houses in several communes of Nha Trang while inundated October 23rd Street linking the town’s heart with Dien Khanh District under half a meter of water.
Khanh Hoa’s Department of Education and Training advised more than 286,000 students from kindergartens to high-schools to remain home starting Monday until further notice.
The province said it is discharging water from 31 reservoirs that have a total capacity of 225 million cubic meters, and evacuated 1,700 people to safety.
Outside the province, flood waters have submerged bridges in Phu Yen Province while heavy rains caused landslides along the route leading from Phu Yen to Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands, said Tran Huu The, Phu Yen chairman.
Phu Yen has yet to recover from the previous wave of flooding, caused by Storm Etau that arrived on October 11 and weakened into a tropical depression as it reached the coast of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.
The cold spell has also led to floods in Ninh Thuan Province, 300 km south of Phu Yen, and Quang Nam Province, nearly 500 km north of it.
Floods have prompted Ninh Thuan to let more than 140,000 students to skip school on Monday.
In Quang Nam, Hoi An ancient town has been flooded for the third time this month.
Many streets along the Hoai River, which are popular to tourists, were up to half a meter under water on Monday morning.