World News

Vietnam flood toll hits 65, more landslides feared

HANOI (Reuters) - At least 65 people have been killed by floods in central Vietnam over the past week and landslides and flash floods could strike the mountainous north this weekend, officials said on Friday.

Eight people were still missing in the central region, where the flood waters were beginning to recede after a deluge triggered by a storm.

More bad weather, a tropical depression to the east, could dump heavy rain and trigger landslides and flash floods in the northern mountains at the weekend, the national weather bureau said.

Floods brought north-south trains to a halt for two days and services would resume later on Friday as workers repaired damaged sections of track in Quang Binh province, officials said.

The floods damaged nearly 55,000 homes and displaced 274,000 people now suffering from hunger and thirst. About 100,000 hectares of crops were also submerged, the government said in its daily disaster report.

“The house’s roof is my only shelter,” a man sitting on top of a submerged home in Ha Tinh province, 340 km south of Hanoi, told Vietnam Television.

Food aid remained limited as many roads were washed away and telecommunications were disrupted, making it harder for officials to assess human and property losses.

The Defence Ministry said it had sent nearly 6,000 soldiers and more than 400 vehicles to help evacuate flood victims and deliver emergency aid.

The government has not released estimates of economic losses in the disaster-prone central region, which also needed medical supplies. Water sources are polluted with dirt, garbage and the carcasses of dead livestock.

In the Central Highlands coffee-growing province of Daklak, 14 people had died in flash floods and seven remained missing since Sunday and were feared dead, officials said.

The region’s coffee crop was not at risk as the hilly terrain helped flush waters away quickly.

Tropical storms and typhoons often strike Vietnam from August to October. Last year, 10 storms hit the country and about 500 people were killed by floods and landslides, the government said.