Viet Nam

Heavy rain causes deaths and widespread flooding in Vietnam

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HANOI, Oct 31, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Prolonged heavy rainfall caused deaths and flooding in a number of areas across Vietnam, turning streets into rivers and causing traffic chaos.

In Hanoi, the rain, which is the heaviest rainfall in the city for 35 years, was continuing to fall heavily as of 5 p.m. local time on Friday. Heavy rains accompanied by lightening have resulted in four dead or reported missing in Vietnam's capital and 12 dead or missing in the central province of Nghe An.

Widespread flooding and traffic jams have affected the city throughout the day. Long lines of cars and thousands of motorcycles have broken down in "rivers" running through the city streets.

The record rainfall has caused widespread damage to irrigation projects, as well as approximately 61,300 hectares of rice and winter crops, with losses estimated at tens of million U.S. dollars, said the city's Steering Board for Storm and Flood Control and Rescue.

The National Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Control asked the provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh to actively control flooding and prevent residents from going fishing or gathering firewood, and to dispatch missions to key areas in order to assist local people in overcoming the aftermath of the disaster.

On Friday, the Director of the National Center for Hydro- Meteorological Forecasting Bui Minh Tang warned that the northern mountainous provinces of Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Tuyen Quang, Bac Can, Lai Chau and Son La should stay alert to the possibility of flash floods, landslides and flooding on Saturday.