July 20, 2009 / 4:48 AM / 10 years ago

Heavy rain hits north Vietnam, Hanoi traffic halted

HANOI, July 20 (Reuters) - Heavy rain from a weakened tropical storm has hit northern Vietnam, causing flooding that brought traffic to a halt in the capital Hanoi and prompted the government to warn of landslides in mountainous areas.

Tropical storm Molave made landfall on Saturday along the southern coast of China, where it weakened before dumping torrential rain across Vietnam’s northern mountainous provinces from late Sunday, the national weather centre said.

Provincial authorities should inspect residential areas facing a high risk of landslides and flash floods so they can be active in preventive measures, the government said in a report.

Floods and landslides early this month have killed 34 people and damaged hundreds of homes in seven northern provinces, an area also affected by Sunday’s rain.

Up to 120 mm (4.7 inches) of rain also fell in the rush hour on Monday in Hanoi, knocking down trees and submerging streets, witnesses said. Traffic was chaotic at intersections, with flood waters hip-high in some areas, they said.

Flooding has become more frequent in Hanoi as the road and the drainage systems struggle to accommodate a rising population. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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