Vietnam coffee area flood kills 6, toll hit 60

from Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 21 Dec 2005
HANOI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Floods have killed six more people in Vietnam's Central Highlands coffee belt, taking the death toll in the central region to 60 over the last 10 days, but officials said on Wednesday the important coffee crop was not affected.

The six, two of them children, drowned as heavy rains triggered floods in the eastern and southeastern parts of Daklak province, which are not key coffee growing areas, an official at Daklak's disaster management department said.

"The damaged coffee area, mainly along streams and rivers, is relatively small, between 300 and 400 hectares," he said, referring to an area of between 740 and 990 acres.

Irrigation projects were damaged and more than 1,100 homes inundated in the districts of Ea Kar, Krong Bong and Krong Ana.

Daklak, which has 160,000 hectares of coffee plantations, produces a third of Vietnam's output. The country is the world's second-largest producer of the commodity after Brazil.

The rain has prevented coffee growers from drying cherries, raising concerns about quality as beans ferment and turn black if kept indoors for too long, making them unfit for export.

A total of 54 people had died in floods that struck five central coastal provinces since early last week, 40 of them in the provinces of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen near Daklak, the government's floods and storms committee said.

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