Flooding kills 66 people in Vietnam

Vietnam Floods
People struggle to walk through a flooded street in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Monday. Chitose Suzuki / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The death toll from nearly a week of flooding across northern and central Vietnam stood at 66 Monday and parts of the capital remained under water, but rains were easing and floodwaters receding in many areas.

Hanoi alone recorded 18 deaths since heavy rains started lashing the city Friday, authorities said. Elsewhere 48 deaths have been reported, authorities said.

Rains were expected in Hanoi and some northern provinces Monday and Tuesday, but weather forecasters said they would be lighter than the downpours that soaked the capital over the weekend.

That would provide welcome relief to residents of Hanoi, where many streets were under three feet (a meter) of water and scores of businesses remained shuttered.

"I have been stuck in my house for the past three days," said Nguyen Manh Hung, a businessman who lives on a street in southern Hanoi where water reached his waist. "It's unbelievable to see people navigating the street in boats and by horse-drawn carriages."

Vietnamese television on Sunday night quoted Hanoi Mayor Nguyen The Thao as saying it would take the city four or five days to pump excess water into the Red River — longer if heavy rains resume.

More than 20 inches (500 millimeters) of rain have fallen on the city in the past three days, the heaviest rains in more than two decades.

Authorities reported six deaths in the northern provinces of Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang and Thai Nguyen on Monday.

The central Nghe An province became worst-hit after 10 more bodies were recovered Monday, bringing the death toll there to 22, said provincial disaster official Nguyen Dinh Thuy.

Rains continued to fall in the province, preventing rescue workers from accessing affected areas, Thuy said.

"Water is everywhere. Many parts of the province are still isolated," said Thuy. "We have to use motorboats to rush food aid to villagers, who have been in hunger for several days."

Floods have inundated more than 100,000 homes across northern and central Vietnam, the national committee for flood and storm control said on its Web site.

More than 590,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of rice and vegetables have been destroyed and about 100 miles (170 kilometers) of rural roads damaged, it said.