Vietnam braces for more downpours as flood toll hits 72

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Vietnam braced on Monday for fresh storms as the official death toll from last week’s floods and landslides rose to 72.

Downpours lashed much of northern and central Vietnam last week, causing floods and landslides that killed dozens, wiped out thousands of homes and left at least 30 missing in one of the country’s worst weather disasters for years.

The desperate search for the missing continued on Monday, with officials trying to clear roads as Tropical Depression Khanun barrelled towards northern Vietnam.

Forecasters said Khanun has weakened from a typhoon after passing south of Hong Kong.

But it threatens to bring heavy rain and more misery to areas already hard hit by floods and landslides, including Hoa Binh province where 23 died last week.

The province declared a state of emergency on Monday over warnings that more landslides could occur as Khanun approached.

“Provinces are concentrating efforts and equipment on improving traffic,” the Disaster Management Authority said Monday, giving the latest death toll.

More than 50,000 houses across several provinces in north and central Vietnam have been submerged or destroyed so far, the agency said.

Some 300,000 farm animals were killed and swathes of cropland decimated.

Vietnam is frequently hit by tropical storms which claim hundreds of lives every year.

Before the latest disaster, some 170 people were reported dead or missing in bad weather this year, including 11 people killed when Typhoon Doksuri hit central Vietnam last month.

Natural disasters have killed more than 13,000 people and caused more than $6.4 billion in property damage over the past 20 years in Vietnam, according to the World Bank.