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125 dead, missing after storms hit N Vietnam

world Updated: Aug 10, 2008 12:48 IST

AFP
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At least 125 people were dead or missing in mountainous northern Vietnam on Sunday after heavy rains brought by tropical storm Kammuri triggered widespread flash floods and landslides.

Thousands of troops, police and emergency services were rushed to flooded towns in the poor and heavily deforested region to deliver drinking water, food and medicines to people stranded on the roofs of their houses.

By early on Sunday, two days after the rains first hit the area, 86 people were confirmed dead and 39 listed as missing, according to reports compiled by AFP from central and provincial emergency relief agencies.

One train engine was overturned by floods, but no one was injured, on the railway line between the capital Hanoi and Lao Cai near the Chinese border, while the parallel highway was cut by landslides in several places.

About 300 homes were destroyed and 3,500 damaged by the floods, which had also wiped out about 5,000 hectares of crops, authorities said.

"We have mobilised all forces, including the military and police, to overcome the effects of the floods," Bui Quang Vinh, Communist Party chief of the worst-hit Lao Cai province, told state broadcaster VTV by telephone.

"We are trying to get to the flood victims, bury the dead and provide medical treatment to the injured," he said, adding that the family of each person killed would receive three million dong ($175).

At least 36 people were killed and 31 remained missing in Lao Cai, but officials said the toll could rise as some areas, including Bat Xat district, remained isolated due to blocked roads.