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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 06:29 GMT 07:29 UK
Vietnam clears up after typhoon
People build up a portion of a dyke in northern province of Nam Dinh on 27 September 2005
Sea defences are being rebuilt
Northern Vietnam has started clearing up after a powerful typhoon breached sea defences and forced thousands of people to evacuate inland.

Typhoon Damrey killed at least four people in Vietnam, after leaving 16 dead on China's Hainan island.

Homes and rice crops in Vietnam's Thanh Hoa and Nam Dinh provinces have been flooded and power cut.

The storm was downgraded as it headed inland, and no rain was reported in Vietnam on Wednesday.

Nearly 300,000 people were moved from the Vietnamese coast before the typhoon hit on Tuesday morning, one of the largest such operations ever undertaken.

Sea surges

It is not yet clear how much damage Damrey - which means elephant in Khmer - has done, but local officials warned it was the most powerful to hit northern Vietnam in several years.

Two people were killed in Thanh Hoa province and nine others injured across the region as electricity poles and houses collapsed, according to reports.

Trees in northern Vietnam, 27/9/05

State media said many homes and thousands of hectares of rice fields had been flooded after a network of dykes was breached.

Several northern and central provinces suffered power blackouts, amid reports of trees and power lines knocked down, roofs blown off and powerful sea surges up to 15ft (4.5m) high, made worse by high tides.

A resident of Thanh Hoa province told the BBC that the authorities had prepared well for the storm.

Killer winds

In the Chinese island province of Hainan, officials described Damrey as the worst typhoon to strike the province in decades.

Economic losses have been estimated at 10bn yuan ($1.2bn), the official Xinhua news agency said.

Many homes were damaged, power lines cut, and experts have warned of huge losses to the harvest of rice, rubber and bananas. There have also been warnings of severe delays in restoring electricity to parts of the island.

According to Xinhua, the typhoon packed winds up to 198km/h (125mph) when it hit Hainan on Monday, making it comparable with Hurricane Rita which hit the US Gulf Coast at the weekend.

While still a tropical storm last week, Damrey triggered rains in the Philippines that killed at least 18 people.

Typhoons frequently hit Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and southern China throughout the summer and autumn.

See pictures of the typhoon hitting Vietnam

In pictures: Typhoon Damrey
27 Sep 05 |  In Pictures
Animated guide: Typhoon
25 Aug 05 |  Science/Nature

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