Viet Nam

Flood-hit Vietnam on storm alert, coffee at risk

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HANOI, Nov 7 (Reuters) - A tropical storm developing west of the Philippines could bring rain to disrupt Vietnam's coffee harvesting by early next week if it lands on the central coast, a storm-tracking website showed on Friday.

Tropical storm Twenty Four, or Maysak, is forecast to arrive in the province of Binh Dinh, to the east of Vietnam's Central Highlands coffee belt, the Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) site showed.

The storm, named after a tree in Cambodia's Khmer language, could cause sea swells and dump heavy rain on Vietnam's central coast over the next 72 hours, the national weather centre said in a storm bulletin on Friday.

Rain during the coffee harvest could halt the process, expected to peak late next week, and may also prevent farmers from drying beans outdoors, thus delaying delivery to port.

If they are unable to dry coffee cherries in the sun, farmers often have to switch to dryers, which raises the ratio of black beans and destroys the taste, both of which are problems if the beans are meant for export.

While floodwaters are receding, 17 northern and central provinces and Hanoi are coping with the aftermath of flooding from heavy rain that killed 93 people. Hanoi reported 22 deaths from the worst inundations in more than three decades, officials said.

On Friday the government urged fishing boats now at sea to take shelter. It also told oil and gas project developers to take precautions to ensure the safety of their rigs and equipment.

"Food reserves, drinking water, essential items for 15 days of use in areas vulnerable to floods should be prepared," the government told local authorities in Danang city, Ho Chi Minh City and 19 central and southern provinces.

Vietnam's main agricultural areas, including the Central Highlands coffee belt and the Mekong Delta rice basket, were not affected by the floods that struck Hanoi and other northern and central provinces.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Alan Raybould)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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