Quang Ninh Province on July 27 extended a ban on tourist boats’ operations in Halong Bay until further notice as torrential rain was forecast to continue to wreak havoc in the World Heritage-listed bay in the coming days.
Hoang Ngoc Hung, chief representative of the Port Authority of Inland Waterway Area No. 1 in Halong, told the Daily that heavy rain was projected to pour in Halong Bay and that owners of tourist boats had been informed of weather conditions.
Nguyen Thi Minh Luong of the provincial Department of Information and Communications said heavy rain in the past days had inundated many streets in Quang Ninh Province and caused traffic jams. Many tourists had been stranded on islands like Co To and Quan Lan as of on July 27.
“The government of Quang Ninh Province has asked travel agencies and hotels on the islands hit by heavy rain to lower service charges and support clients to stay there while waiting for weather to improve,” Luong said.
At least 2,500 travelers had to take shelter on Co To Island as boats had been banned from leaving ports, said Vu Duc Loi, administrative manager of Co To District.
Co To island in the storm
Loi said the figure was based on reports by lodgingfacilities while households providing homestay services and rooms for rent had not reported the numbers of their guests to the authorities.
Co To Island attracted 100,000 visitors in the first half of this year, equivalent to the number recorded in all of 2014. As usual, there are four daily tourist boat services and a number of chartered vessels transporting passengers to the island.
The committee for natural disaster control, search and rescue in Cam Pha City said torrential rain and floods killed a mother and two daughters in a family in Mong Duong Ward on Sunday night.
According to the national weather center, a tropical low in the north triggered torrential rain in Quang Ninh Province.
Rainfalls of 613 mm were recorded in Cua Ong, 391 mm in Mong Cai and 285 mm in Bai Chay, said Bui Duc Long of the center.
Notably, rainfalls in Cua Ong were much higher than the 570 mm that caused the most severe flooding in Hanoi in 2008.
Prolonged rain has inundated parts of Quang Ninh and many roads in the province’s Cam Pha City have submerged under one meter of water.