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Typhoon slams central Vietnam coast

Three people were killed and 14 injured after Typhoon Lekima slammed into central Vietnam and the death toll was expected to rise, officials said on Thursday.

world Updated: Oct 04, 2007 08:20 IST

Three people were killed and 14 injured after Typhoon Lekima slammed into central Vietnam and the death toll was expected to rise, officials said on Thursday.

Packing winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, the typhoon also left one person missing after it made landfall late Wednesday in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, knocking down trees and power poles, said Le Duc Thanh of the Department of Floods and Storms Control.

Three people drowned including a 13-year-old boy who attempted to anchor his family's boat during the storm.

"The casualties are expected to rise as losses from coastal areas, which were worst hit by the typhoon, have not been reported," Thanh said.

The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching neighboring Laos early Thursday, the national weather forecast center said.

Lekima destroyed or damaged more than 25,000 homes in Quang Binh province, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien. Named after a Vietnamese fruit, Lekima also destroyed thousands of hectares of rice crops in Nghe An province, officials said.

About 400,000 people were evacuated inland from the region. Earlier, Lekima appeared to be heading toward southern China, where officials evacuated 100,000 people and called 20,000 fishing boats back to harbor.

It shifted course early Wednesday and began heading to Vietnam, which is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.