Viet Nam

Flood warning in Vietnam, but storm spares coffee

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By Ho Binh Minh

HANOI, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Vietnam's government issued flash flood and landslide warnings on Tuesday as heavy rains followed tropical storm Noul, which weakened overnight and caused no damage to coffee production.

Two people were killed as the storm made landfall near the beach resort of Nha Trang late on Monday, swamping 107 small fishing boats near the shore, the government said.

Heavy rains from Noul, the 10th storm tracked by the Southeast Asian country this year, raised river water levels in two provinces where flooding caused by torrential rains killed at least 12 people last week.

Coffee output from the world's second largest producer was not affected by the storm.

Rains on Sunday and Monday delayed the harvest slightly but farmers in the central highland provinces of Daklak and Lam Dong resumed picking cherries on Tuesday, residents said.

"The rain has stopped and it's a clear, sunny day today," a resident in Daklak, Vietnam's top coffee-growing province, said by telephone.

A coffee trader in the neighbouring province of Lam Dong said the weather was now good for the harvesting and drying of beans.

The centre of the storm had earlier been forecast to cross Lam Dong, some 500 metres (1,640 feet) above sea level.

The government said regional rivers were reaching dangerous levels and provincial authorities needed to exercise caution because of possible "flash floods on streams and rivers, landslides in mountains and inundation in low-lying areas".

Earlier the government had warned that the storm threatened lives and and property in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's food basket, where the latest rice crop had been harvested.

But except for flooding in several areas near Ho Chi Minh City after a power plant reservoir flushed water to reduce pressure in Binh Duong province, no damages to crops or casualties had been reported.

Farmers in the Mekong Delta will soon start planting the winter-spring rice crop, which provides the highest yields and which goes mainly to the export market.

Vietnam is the world's second-largest coffee producer after Brazil and is expected to be the second-largest rice exporter this year after Thailand.

(Editing by Alan Raybould and Sanjeev Miglani)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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