Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vietnam floods leave dozens dead

Rescue work in Binh Dinh on 3 November 2009
Troops and officials have been helping to rescue stranded residents

The death toll from severe flooding in Vietnam triggered by a tropical storm has risen to about 90, officials say.

Tropical storm Mirinae caused widespread damage in central provinces when it struck on Monday.

Hundreds of houses were destroyed and tens of thousands of people stranded by flood waters, local reports said.

In the worst-hit province of Phu Yen, the disaster committee described it as "the most devastating flooding in more than 30 years".

Some 2,000 soldiers have been sent to help with the rescue effort. Disaster officials said information was still trickling in from isolated areas and the death toll could rise.

Food drops

Television images from affected areas showed residents stranded on top of their houses, as well as submerged trees and buildings.

Worst-hit provinces included Phu Yen, Kanah Hoa, Gia Lai and Binh Dinh, all in central Vietnam.

In Phu Yen, 65 people were known to have died and another 13 were missing, a local disaster official said.

Troops were using boats and helicopters to drop food supplies and to ferry residents to safety. Swaths of farmland are reported to have been ruined.

The storm brought an estimated 338mm (13ins) of rain when it hit on Monday.

More than 50,000 people were evacuated from coastal regions before it struck, the government said.

It arrived from the Philippines, where it killed more than 20 people and forced thousands into evacuation centres.

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