24 dead as torrential rains cause floods in Vietnam

Flooded houses in the central province of Binh Dinh on Sunday. Torrential rains have inundated swathes of central Vietnam, with houses in remote areas currently underwater.
Flooded houses in the central province of Binh Dinh on Sunday. Torrential rains have inundated swathes of central Vietnam, with houses in remote areas currently underwater.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HANOI • Days of unseasonably torrential rains have killed at least 24 people in central Vietnam, the authorities said yesterday.

The rains have inundated swathes of the region, including the tourist-draw town of Hoi An.

Vietnam regularly experiences tropical storms and heavy downpours but it is unusual for the country to see so much rain in December, during the cooler dry season that is popular with tourists.

Coastal Binh Dinh province reported the biggest death toll, with 16 people killed since heavy rains began on Dec 12, according to an official online report from the national flood and storm control committee. At least two more are missing in the province, with hundreds of houses in remote areas currently underwater.

The report said the damage totalled US$32 million (S$46.4 million), with more than 32,000ha of crops destroyed.

Parts of the central town of Hoi An, a World Heritage site that boasts picturesque pre-colonial trading houses, were submerged in floodwaters.

Ms Nguyen Thi Hon, a restaurant owner in Hoi An, said: "It is strange for our town to be hit with flooding in December."

She added that some tourists had taken to seeing the sights by boat.

The floodwaters have receded in the last few days, but local forecasters have warned of further rains to come in the region at the end of the week.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline '24 dead as torrential rains cause floods in Vietnam'. Print Edition | Subscribe