Typhoon leaves trail of destruction in central Vietnam

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A house in Quang Ninh District, Quang Binh Province, damaged by Typhoon Wutip. Photo by Truong Quang Nam

Typhoon Wutip, the 10th storm to hit Vietnam this year, has brought destruction to central Vietnam with torrential rains, flash floods, and strong winds since Monday (September 30).

At least nine people had been killed five in Quang Binh, the hardest hit province, and two each in Thanh Hoa and Nghe An as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control said the next day.

Among the victims was Nguyen Tai Dung, 51, deputy director of the Nghe An Department of Industry and Trade, whose car was reportedly swept away by floodwaters Tuesday evening while carrying relief items to people in flooded areas in Hoang Mai town.

Rescuers found his body inside the car around 100 meters away from the scene of the accident in the Hoang Mai River.

Le Thanh Nghi, 41, and Nguyen Chi Thanh, 40, both employees of Voice of Vietnam radio station in Quang Binh's Dong Hoi town, died after gale-force winds sent a 150-meter antenna tumbling on them Monday, according to the storm control committee.

Nguyen Luong Nguyen and Mai Kim Quang, both 13, were drowned in a spillway in Thanh Hoa, it said.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday 199 people in Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces were injured, with Quang Binh accounting for most of them, it said.

Three people, one each in Nghe An, Quang Binh and Quang Nam, are missing.

More than 224,000 houses in the provinces were damaged, had their roofs ripped off, or submerged in the floodwaters.

More than 1,100 schools, offices, hospitals, and other public buildings too suffered similar damage.

More than 18,000 hectares (45,000 acres) of rice, corn, cassava, and other crops were damaged, while more than 444,000 livestock and poultry were killed or swept away.

The storm also left many irrigational works, electric poles, and antennas damaged and 48 kilometers of electric wires cut.

Electricity was disrupted in many places in the six provinces.

Many roads were flooded and lots of trees were uprooted.

But things have started improving in many of the places.

The north-south railway was flooded but cleared by Wednesday morning.

The preliminary estimate of losses in the six provinces is approximately VND5 trillion (US$236 million).

Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Center for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting, said the storm, the strongest in the last six years, centered over Quang Binh Monday evening before weakening into a tropical depression at 11 p.m. and moving to Laos early Tuesday morning.

But rains are still lashing central Vietnam, especially the storm-affected region between Thanh Hoa and Thua Thien-Hue, meteorologists said.

Many people were also injured when repairing their houses after the storm. Tran Huu Dat, 74, of Quang Tri was in fact killed after falling off while repairing the roof of his house. 

Late last month a storm had ravaged parts of the central region, including Dak Lak, Da Nang, Ha Tinh, Quang Nam, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue, also leaving a trail of devastation.

It killed 24 and damaged thousands of houses and large areas of crops.

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