Viet Nam

Tropical storm kills four in Vietnam

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Hanoi_(dpa) _ Heavy rains and winds from Tropical Storm Noul unexpectedly changed course and spared Vietnam's most populated city but left four people dead, disaster officials said Tuesday.

Noul had been forecast to hit Ho Chi Minh City on Monday night. City officials breathed a collective sigh of relief when the storm weakened and changed direction.

The storm moved northward, dumping rain on six provinces in the south-central region. One of the areas hardest hit was the beach resort town of Nha Trang, the capital of Khanh Hoa province, where the deaths were reported.

The rains subsided Tuesday but water levels in some areas were still rising from swollen rivers, according to Pham Chu Chinh of the Central Committee for Storm and Flood Control.

The government issued flash flood alerts in several provinces. Some 67,000 residents living in areas susceptible to flooding and landslides were moved to higher ground.

Officials were still trying to contact about two dozen fishing boats with an estimated 216 people on board. Thousands of fishing boats were ordered ashore before the storm hit.

Forecasters said heavy rains and landslides were expected to lash provinces in south-central Vietnam during the next three days. dpa mao tl pw

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