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Typhoon and floods kill 58 in Vietnam

At least 58 people have died in Vietnam since a typhoon slammed into the country and brought the worst floods in decades to northern and central areas.

world Updated: Oct 08, 2007 12:44 IST

At least 58 people have died in Vietnam since a typhoon slammed into the country and brought the worst floods in decades to northern and central areas, rescue officials said Monday.

Emergency workers were taking water, food and medicine supplies by helicopter and boat to stranded villagers cut off after rivers burst their banks and landslides cut off roads in the aftermath of Typhoon Lekima.

The floods are the worst to hit Vietnam's mountainous north and its central provinces in 45 years, said the Central Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Prevention and Control, according to the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The death toll was expected to climb as 15 people were listed as missing.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited flood-hit Ninh Binh province Sunday and ordered authorities to supply shelters and food for flood victims and quickly repair damaged dykes, roads, houses and schools, said VNA.

The province worst hit was north-central Nghe An, where 22 people have died. The severe weather has also killed nine people in Hoa Binh, seven in Son La and four in Ninh Binh provinces.

In Thanh Hoa province, where six deaths have been reported, the floods were almost a metre higher than disastrous inundations that hit in 1996, said Do Minh Quy, chairman of the Thach Thanh district people's committee.

"We have evacuated 58,000 of the 148,000 people in our district," he told AFP. "At the moment more than 12,000 people are still isolated."

Do Thi Lien, a 50-year-old woman in the district's Kim Tan town, said: "My one-storey house is under 2.5 metres (eight feet) of water.

"Six members of my family have moved to a nearby hill. We still have no electricity, no clean water, no telephone."

The typhoon, named after a local tropical fruit, and the ensuing floods have damaged or destroyed nearly 128,000 houses and 162,000 hectares (400,000 acres) of rice paddy and other crops in Vietnam, authorities said.

In northwestern Son La, bordering Laos, a landslide exposed six Vietnam war-era bombs in the town of Moc Chau, the Thanh Nien (Young People) daily reported, adding that an army unit had so far defused three of the explosives.

Lekima -- Vietnam's fifth major storm of the year -- made landfall last Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 117 kilometres (72 miles) per hour, killing seven people in central Vietnam and leaving over 90 injured.

It had earlier hit the Philippines, then classified as a tropical storm, and left nine people dead, also unleashing landslides and floods.