54 killed, 39 missing in Vietnam floods and landslides

Two soldiers walk a pig through flood water in northern province of Thanh Hoa Vietnam Wednesday

Floods and landslides caused by a tropical depression have killed at least 43 people, left 34 others missing and damaged homes and crops in northern and central Vietnam, officials said yesterday.

They have also injured 21 local people, inundated over 16,700 houses, damaged two dikes, more than 39,300 hectares of crops, killed or swept away almost 1,200 cattle and roughly 40,000 fowls, and caused landslides along many national roads.

The 40 missing people are from Son La, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa and central Quang Tri province.

Nineteen people from four neighboring households in Hoa Binh were buried alive early on Thursday after a landslide struck around midnight on Wednesday, but only nine bodies have been found, the disaster agency said in a report.

The heavy rain in the central and northern regions has disrupted travel in some areas, limiting the rescue attempts for the missing.

Vietnam has already been hit by severe rain and storms this year, with almost 170 people dead or missing before the latest bout of bad weather. Also, adding another tropical depression was expected to hit the Philippines on Thursday evening and could strengthen to a tropical storm when it moves to the South China Sea.

The storm could bring more rains and misery to the central and northern regions already soaked with rain and floodwaters.

The floods that hit Vietnam this week starting on Monday are the worst in years, state-run Vietnam Television quoted agriculture minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong as saying.

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