Typhoon ravages northern Vietnam, 7 killed

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A post office communications tower, 42 meters high, was felled by typhoon Jebi Saturday in Quang Ninh Province. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Typhoon Jebi has caused seven casualties in Vietnam since the storm made landfall Saturday morning.

Widespread property damage has been reported, as well as cancelled flights.

The typhoon hit northern provinces, with the coal province of Quang Ninh being the hardest hit, at around 9 a.m.

Two local men, Pham Van Bang, 49, and Ho Ngoc Toi, 50, were swept away in their truck at around 2 a.m. The truck was found four hours later while Bang's body was found late at night and Toi's the next morning.

Three other victims were from Hoa Binh Province, including forest ranger Nguyen Dang Huan, and married couple Bui Van Nhan and Ngo Thi Mai. They were all swept away in floods.

One person was killed in Dien Bien Province and another in Thai Nguyen.

Dykes in Quang Ninh were broken in several places. One break was around 15 meters long. Hundreds of houses lost their roofs and many others collapsed. Several commercial buildings also collapsed.

Many telecommunication towers and power lines also fell.

The National Committee for Search and Rescue said the typhoon blew off 524 house roofs and flooded 223 hectares of agricultural land in the region, causing around VND10 billion (US$473,000) worth of damage.

Le Thi Thanh Nhan, deputy head of the typhoon prevention and rescue committee in Lang Son Province, estimated the total damage in the province, including the antena of a district television station, at around VND2 billion ($94,675).

Rainfall was measured at 170 mm in Bac Giang Province and 180 mm in Lang Son.

The typhoon reduced to a tropical low zone later on Saturday, but weather forecasts said torrential rains would continue, posing flood and landslide risks.

High floods are expected as the country's major hydropower dam, named Hoa Binh and located in the eponymous province, is scheduled to discharge water if downpours continue through Sunday night.

Rainfall of more than 100 mm also flooded streets in downtown Hanoi for a brief period.

The Vietnam Maritime Administration's broadcast system said a Vietnamese cargo boat with 21 aboard is stuck off Guangxi, China, after breaking its rudder.

Jebi also caused national carrier Vietnam Airlines to cancel 48 domestic and international flights on Saturday, while Jetstar Pacific Airlines canceled two and VietJetAir four. Many of those flights were from the northern port city of Hai Phong.

Many travelers were then rescheduled to fly Sunday.

Jebi, the fifth typhoon in the East Sea this year, was first spotted as a low pressure in the East Sea last Monday. As it moved toward the mainland, it caused rains that lead to floods and killed six people in the northern highlands Monday night and early Tuesday.

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