Tropical storm kills 3 in central Vietnam

Tuesday, September 30th 2008, 9:18 am
By: News 9

AP Graphics

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Tropical Storm Mekkhala slammed into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing three people and leaving 10 others missing, disaster officials said.

A 9-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother were swept away while crossing a stream in Quang Binh province, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien. Three other people were missing elsewhere in the province, he said.

In neighboring Ha Tinh province, a man died when he was blown off the roof of his home while trying to reinforce it during the storm. Two teenagers in the province were missing after being swept away while crossing a stream, said disaster official Le Dinh Son.

In Quang Tri province, five people were reported missing.

The storm arrived as people in northern Vietnam were still cleaning up following Typhoon Hagupit, which killed 41 people last week and caused damage estimated at US$65 million.

Mekkhala, packing winds of 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour), blew tin roofs off houses in Quang Binh province, Dien said, adding that power blackouts were reported in the provincial capital Dong Hoi.

Tran Minh Ky, vice governor of Ha Tinh province, said 10,000 people in coastal villages had earlier been evacuated. However, some began returning to their homes Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved into Laos and rains stopped, said Son.

Rescue workers in northern Son La province are still struggling to reach isolated villages devastated by floods triggered by Typhoon Hagupit.

Vietnam is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.

Hagupit killed 17 people and left six missing in the Guangxi region of southern China last week, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in a story posted Tuesday. Nearly 700,000 people there were evacuated after heavy rains and flooding destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)