Vietnam floods kill 25 as Typhoon Sarika approaches

Floods surround houses in Ha Tinh province, Vietnam on Oct 15, 2016.
Floods surround houses in Ha Tinh province, Vietnam on Oct 15, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

HANOI (AFP) - Severe flooding in central Vietnam has killed at least 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes, officials said Monday (Oct 17), as the country braced for further destruction with a typhoon barrelling closer.

Images from flood-hit provinces showed houses almost completely submerged and people paddling down waterlogged streets following heavy rain that started last week.

Four people are still missing after the deluge, which destroyed or damaged more than 240,000 homes in several central provinces since Friday, the Natural Disaster Prevention office said on its website.

State-run media reported that at least one local hydropower plant suddenly released water from its reservoir, which contributed to some of the destruction over the weekend.

The government said it was looking into whether the Ho Ho hydropower plant in Ha Tinh province should have released the water without warning.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Sarika which lashed the Philippines over the weekend is expected to hit Vietnam Wednesday, with northern provinces on high alert.

Local forecasters said they expect Sarika to be the biggest storm of the season. Authorities said they may issue evacuation orders and a ban on ships going to sea, according to reports.

Vietnam is hit every year by up to a dozen tropical storms or typhoons, which often cause widespread destruction along coastal regions.