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Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Vietnam flood victims face crocs threat
Boy in Moc Hoa, Vietnam's Mekong Delta
Now he is in danger from crocodiles too
By Owen Bennett-Jones in Hanoi

Victims flooding in southern Vietnam are having to contend with a new threat - the arrival of crocodiles in the Mekong Delta.


Unusually high floodwaters have already forced nearly 200,000 people to abandon their homes.

So far Vietnam's worst floods in more than four decades have already killed more than 280 people, most of them children who were unable to swim.

Adding to this Vietnamese officials say that more than 10,000 families in the Delta region are suffering from malnutrition.

An aid worker who saw one of the crocodiles said it was 2m long and was now being kept in a pond at a police post close to the Cambodian border.

Flushed down by floods

Vietnamese newspapers have had reports of other crocodile sightings.

One carries an account of how a fisherman in Vietnam's badly flooded An Giang province caught a 25kg crocodile.

Local people were quoted as saying that the floodwater must have flushed it down from Cambodia.

crocodile
Crocodiles have swum into the Mekong Delta
Environmentalists say they would not normally expect to find wild crocodiles in the Mekong Delta.

But they say there are some crocodile farms both in Vietnam and in Cambodia, and it is possible that some crocodiles have escaped from flooded farms.

Meanwhile, the suffering of those whose homes have been submerged by the very high water levels continues.

Prolonged

Red Cross workers say they are getting ever more requests for food.

The fact that this flood has been so prolonged is causing severe difficulties for those who are unable to work and who have run out of money.

Rescue workers say that in most places the water levels are now falling gradually and while that does offer relief to many, it does pose new dangers too.

It is feared that pools of dirty, stagnant water left behind by the flood will become the source of water-borne diseases.

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See also:

14 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Mekong flood death toll rises
14 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
In Pictures: The Mekong floods
11 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Vietnam prepares for Mekong flood
08 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Flood waters threaten Cambodian capital
07 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines hit by killer storms
28 Aug 99 | World
Nature's lethal weapons
22 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Vietnam: legacy of the floods
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