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Typhoon death toll in Vietnam climbs amid widespread floods

Nguyen Thi Vui paddles her boat in the flooded streets of Hoi An, Vietnam, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (Hau Dinh / Associated Press)
Nguyen Thi Vui paddles her boat in the flooded streets of Hoi An, Vietnam, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (Hau Dinh / Associated Press)
Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam – A powerful typhoon that rocked Vietnam has killed at least 44 people, left more than a dozen missing and caused extensive damage to the country’s south-central region ahead of a summit that will draw leaders from around the world, the government said Monday.

The Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said in a statement that widespread flooding was reported in the region and that more than 116,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. In addition to the dead, 19 people are missing, including nine crew members of cargo ships that sank off the coast of Khanh Hoa province.

Typhoon Damrey hit Saturday and had already dissipated, but the disaster agency said flooding may get worse as heavy rain was forecast for the region. The area hit includes Danang, which is hosting an economic summit later this week that will be by President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders.

Many of the banners and posters for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang were damaged, but were fixed by Monday. There was only light rainfall in the city on Monday.

A half-hour drive away in the ancient town of Hoi An, where spouses of the APEC leaders were scheduled to visit, residents said they were suffering from the worst floods in decades.

“Our family of six members has to live on the second floor, where we had to move all our belongings,” said Nguyen Thi Hong, 70, who has been selling silk products in the town for the past 30 years. “Life was very difficult because there was no electricity and we have to use boats to get around.”

Another local resident, Nguyen Huu Ngai, said it was the worst flooding in the area since 1999, adding that in “previous rainy seasons, the water was shallow, but this year the water is so high that we have to use boats.”

Shops in Hoi An, a UNESCO world heritage site popular with tourists, were closed and boats were the only means of transportation in many flooded parts of the town.

Rains of up to 78 centimeters (30 inches) were reported in some parts of the central region over the 24 hours until Sunday evening. Light rains were reported in the region Monday morning.

The typhoon was the second to hit Vietnam in a month.

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