July 5, 2009 / 7:02 AM / 10 years ago

Vietnam northern floods kill 15, dozen missing

HANOI (Reuters) - Heavy rains triggering floods and landslides in mountainous northern regions of Vietnam have killed at least 15 people, destroyed houses and damaged roads, the government and state-run radio said on Sunday.

Landslides killed 13 people in Bac Kan province and another 11 were missing as of early Sunday, Voice of Vietnam radio said.

Landslides and floods cut off roads, telecommunications and power supply to a district in Bac Kan after heavy rains fell on Friday night, the government said in a disaster report.

Floods killed two people in the neighboring provinces of Cao Bang and Ha Giang while three others, including two children, were carried away and remained missing, the report said.

About 300 people were forced to leave homes destroyed in landslides, provincial roads were eroded and small fields of rice, corn and cassava in the three provinces were damaged, the report said, adding that more rains were forecast on Sunday.

State-run Vietnam Television showed footage of rescuers looking for missing people at a house buried by landslides in Cao Bang while in Ha Giang province a local river swelled and streets were flooded.

Heavy rains were falling on Sunday morning in Ha Giang, Voice of Vietnam radio said.

Vietnam is often struck by floods and storms between July and October but the government has said 47 people were dead or missing from natural disasters in the first half of this year.

The flood-stricken area is far outside Vietnam’s main growing region for its key commodities rice and coffee.

The northern Vietnam region lies about 1,200 km (750 miles) north of the Central Highlands coffee belt and the Mekong Delta food basket is even further away.

The casualties and property damage in the Vietnamese area bordering China emerged after torrential rain battered southern China and displaced more than 150,000 people there, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Editing by Jerry Norton

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