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Eight dead in Vietnam floods

world Updated: Jan 04, 2009 11:52 IST
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Unseasonal floods in central Vietnam have killed at least five people and left three others missing and feared dead in recent days, national emergency services and state media reports said Sunday.

Four men were swept away in floods and one woman drowned when her small fishing boat sank in a swollen river as heavy rains hit Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces, said the National Flood and Storm Control Committee in Hanoi.

More than 5,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, and almost 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) of crops were under water, it said in an online report.

According to the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA), 20 to 30 centimetres of rain fell in recent days and caused flooding of up to 80 centimetres.

Vietnam is hit by a series of typhoons, tropical storms and floods every year -- mostly between July and November -- which in 2008 killed at least 550 people, according to the communist government's General Statistics Office.

Total material damage reached more than 700 million dollars during the year, VNA said.