Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Sunday, 2 November 2008

Floods kill 49 people in Vietnam

People on a flooded street in Hanoi, Vietnam, 2 November 2008
Heavy rainfall in Hanoi has turned many streets into rivers

Floods in northern and central Vietnam have killed at least 49 people in the past week, including 18 in the capital, Hanoi, state media have said.

Much of the city - hit by the worst flooding in two decades - is submerged under 1m (3ft) of water, and more rain is expected in the next few days.

Crops have been destroyed in affected areas and the price of food has soared.

Several people died during heavy rain last month. In September, floods caused killed at least 25 in Vietnam's north.

The latest round of flooding to hit the country has left residents wading through streets that have been turned into rivers, with water up to their chests.

Some 55,000 homes, as well as power stations, schools and offices remain submerged. Floods also contaminated city water supplies.

In the badly-affected central province province of Nghe An, 12 people have been killed, including three children who were swept away while walking home from school.


Flooding scenes in Hanoi

The deluge has also destroyed thousands of acres of crops across the region, and sent food prices soaring as supplies ran out.

Losses are estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

The authorities say they have mobilised some 1,000 soldiers and police to evacuate villagers to higher ground, and to rush food and medicine to flooded areas.

One soldier was killed on Saturday while helping to reinforce a dyke in the province of Ninh Binh, a government spokesman told the Associated Press.

Floods are a common occurrence in Vietnam, killing hundreds each year.

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