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Vietnam flood toll hits 112, more rains forecast

world Updated: Aug 12, 2008 08:57 IST

Reuters
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Military helicopters delivered instant noodles and fresh water to residents in mud-covered villages in northern Vietnam after floods and landslides killed scores of people, with more rains forecast to hit on Tuesday.

At least 112 people have been killed after days of heavy rains triggered by the remnants of a tropical storm. Another 45 people were missing, the government said on Tuesday.

Television footage showed helicopters delivering supplies to residents in the northern mountainous provinces of Lao Cai and Yen Bai. Most roads in the hardest-hit areas have been washed away.

More than 1,100 military troops have been leading rescue work, turning over stones in streams to search for bodies, footage from state-run Vietnam Television station showed. Sniffer dogs have also been sent to the area to aid the search.

The toll from the floods, the worst natural disaster to hit the Southeast Asian country this year, is expected to rise but no major impact on main export crops was expected.

The region is about 1,500 km (930 miles) north of Vietnam's main rice and coffee production zones.

A tropical low-pressure system, formed in the Tonkin Gulf and was moving towards the country's north, is expected to make landfall later on Tuesday, the National Flood and Storm Prevention Centre said in an updated report.

The system would dump heavy rains and trigger landslides from late Tuesday, the report said.

Lao Cai province, bordering China, was the hardest hit by the deluge with 48 people dead and another 37 missing after floods swept through villages at the weekend, Lao Cai's Flood and Storm Prevention Centre said. All the victims were local residents, officials said.

"Most of the main roads in the provinces are covered with thick a layer of mud from landslides, so it is very difficult for vehicles to move around," a spokesman for the province's flood prevention centre said.

All foreign tourists in Sapa were safe, he said.

On Monday, about 100 foreign tourists, the first group among more than 1,000 Vietnamese and foreign tourists stranded in Lao Cai, were airlifted from the province by helicopter, state-run Voice of Vietnam radio said.

At least 35 people were killed in the neighbouring province of Yen Bai, many buried alive as landslides hit at night as they slept.