November 7, 2017 / 6:07 AM / 2 years ago

Vietnam releases water from brimming reservoirs as APEC summit nears

DANANG, Vietnam (Reuters) - Vietnam released water from seven dangerously full reservoirs on Tuesday to avoid further flooding, after a weekend typhoon killed nearly 90 people.

A traffic sing indicating APEC summit vehicles priority is seen along submerged street in UNESCO heritage ancient town of Hoi An after typhoon Damrey hits Vietnam November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

Authorities said particular effort was being made to avoid flooding around the city of Danang, which will host U.S. President Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin among Asia-Pacific leaders at a summit this week.

Water was being released from seven reservoirs, in line with a flood relief plan, the Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention said, and observers had been posted at major reservoirs to monitor water levels constantly.

Typhoon Damrey, which struck on Saturday, was the 12th major storm of the year. Eighty-nine people were known to have died because of the storm, 18 people were missing and 174 people were injured, the search and rescue committee said.

As much as 1,700 mm (67 inches) of rain was recorded at one weather station in the week to Monday. Rains are expected to continue until Wednesday before reducing on Thursday.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings began in Danang on Monday, and Trump, Xi and Putin are due to join other regional leaders at the main summit on Friday and Saturday.

The schedule of meetings has not been disrupted by the rain, but the leaders’ spouses may not be able to make a planned excursion to the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An on Saturday.

Waters in the streets rose to head height at the weekend, although they had subsided somewhat by Tuesday.

Because of its long coastline, Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding. Floods killed more than 80 people in northern Vietnam last month, while a typhoon wreaked havoc in central provinces in September.

The storm hit a key coffee-growing region of the world’s biggest producer of robusta coffee beans near the start of the harvest. But farmers in Daklak, the heart of the region, said the damage was limited.

Editing by Larry King

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