Death Toll Reaches 65

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Central Vietnam was bracing for a second wave of severe flooding after heavy downpours killed at least 65 people and left hundreds homeless, RFA's Vietnamese service reports.

At least 65 people were killed in nine central Vietnamese provinces including Quang Nam, Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, and Binh Dinh, officials said. Some drowned in high waters while others were buried alive in landslides.

"Because of a delay of information on the flood levels, we weren't well-prepared for it," Phu Yen Province Deputy Governor Dinh Thanh Tinh told RFA. "Suddenly, significant third-level flooding came at midnight [Nov. 12] and water levels on all rivers rose dramatically."

Damage to Phu Yen Province is estimated at 88 billion dong (U.S. $5.6 million), with seven dead.

Tropical storm Nepartak, which pummeled the Philippines on Friday, was meanwhile rapidly approaching Vietnam. Reports said the storm approached Vietnam as of early Monday, and that by Tuesday the storm would reach Vietnam's northern coast. It is expected to leave the Vietnamese shore by Nov. 20.

�The storm will move and bring very strong winds to the Quang Ninh shore,� Le Cong Thanh, director of Vietnam�s Central Meteorology Center, told RFA. �Right now, there are no reports of any damage. People in this area are aware of the storm and will be well-prepared for it.�

Dinh said flood levels reached 1.3 meters after two days and two nights of heavy rains in Tuy Hoa Town, Phu Yen Province. Some 150 people were trapped on the Da Rang River area and another 150 in the Hinh and Son Hoa river areas Nov. 12, he said. "We are collecting data on how many people are short of food or homeless to draw out a supporting program to help stabilize their lives and start new crops," an official with Vietnam's Committee for Flood and Storm Control in Central Provinces told reporters Monday.

Rains poured down up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) in central Vietnam, according to the National Meteorology Center in Hanoi.

Damage to buildings and homes is estimated at nearly U.S. $35 million.#####


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