Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 18:47 UK

Typhoon leaves 31 dead in Vietnam


Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated in central Vietnam

A powerful typhoon has struck central Vietnam, causing floods and landslides which have killed at least 31 people and forced 170,000 to flee their homes.

Typhoon Ketsana has already left 246 dead in the Philippines, which it hit as a weaker tropical storm on Saturday.

Although the storm is weakening as it moves inland towards Laos and Cambodia, officials in both countries have warned it could still cause heavy flooding.

In the Philippines, 380,000 people are stranded in temporary relief shelters.

People try to get aid in Marikina City (29 September 2009)

Relief workers in the capital, Manila, and surrounding areas say they are being overwhelmed by the scale of what is required and appealed for foreign aid.

Correspondents say there is a growing sense of desperation among those affected as much-needed medical supplies, food and water are not reaching them.

Weather forecasters are predicting more heavy rain later this week, with a new storm forming in the Pacific likely to enter Philippine waters on Thursday, making landfall on the island of Luzon.


After gathering strength over the South China Sea since the weekend, Typhoon Ketsana made landfall in Vietnam at around 0700 GMT, about 60km (37 miles) south of the country's fourth-largest city Danang, bringing winds of up to 150km/h (93mph) and heavy rain.

Map showing the path of typhoon Ketsana

All flights to Danang and the nearby coastal city of Hue were suspended. Schools were shut and 170,000 people in six coastal provinces were evacuated from their homes.

More than 1,000 people were trapped at Hue's main railway station and roads linking the north and south were cut off by floods. The head of the local People's Committee said up to 50cm (127cm) of rain had fallen.

One resident of Hue, Truong Van Ai, complained that help had not reached the area in time and that they did not know what to do.

Flooding in Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands, Vietnam (29 September 2009)
Many of the deaths in Vietnam came in the Central Highlands

"This morning, water has been rising very fast and it continued to rise so we are faced with a lot of difficulties. We need help from the authorities as my house has collapsed and we lost everything," he told Reuters news agency.

Relief workers said most of the fatalities had been the result of collapsed buildings or landslides. In Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands, a family of five was killed when their house was buried in a mudslide, officials said.


In the Philippines, the government said it now believed 246 people had died after the storm struck on Saturday, a figure that is expected to rise as mud is cleared from the worst affected areas.


The scene in three of the worst hit areas in the Philippines

Almost two million people were affected by the flooding in Manila, the worst to hit the city in 40 years. At one point, 80% of the city was submerged.

Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro appealed for humanitarian assistance from the international community.

"We are trying our level best to provide basic necessities, but the potential for a more serious situation is there," he said. "We cannot wait for that to happen."

Ketsana, with winds of up to 100km/h (62mph), hit the Philippines early on Saturday, crossing the main northern Luzon island before heading out toward the South China Sea. Officials say more than 40cm (16in) of rain fell on Manila within 12 hours, exceeding the average for the whole month of September.

Graphic showing rainfall during typhoon Ketsana

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