October 31, 2008 / 4:51 AM / 10 years ago

Vietnam floods kill 14, Hanoi streets under water

HANOI (Reuters) - Floods from heavy rain in Vietnam’s central provinces have killed at least 14 people in the past week, including four children, the government and state media said on Friday.

Many roads in the capital, Hanoi, were submerged, with up to 1 metre (yard) of water in some places, and some residents had abandoned cars and motorcycles.

Torrential rain pounded northern Vietnam early on Friday, threatening dangerous flash floods in six mountainous provinces, state weather forecasters said.

Three girls aged 11 and 12 returning from school and a two-year-old boy were among the victims of floods that have hit nine central provinces since Oct. 24, the government’s disaster management unit said in its daily report.

Seven people died in Ha Tinh province, three in Quang Ngai and two in Nghe An, while Quang Nam and Phu Yen provinces each reported one death.

Up to 330 mm (13 inches) of rain had pounded Nghe An province, 300 km (186 miles) south of Hanoi, since Wednesday, halting traffic, while landslides had eroded many sections of the north-south Ho Chi Minh highway in Thua Thien-Hue province.

Vietnam’s main agricultural area, including the Central Highlands coffee belt and the Mekong Delta rice basket, have not been affected by the floods, although rain disrupted coffee harvesting this week.

The harvest is due to peak in mid-November in the Central Highlands, two weeks earlier than usual, but rain could prolong the drying process and damage bean quality, traders said.

Typhoons and floods have killed several hundred people in northern and central provinces since the start of this year. The flood and storm season ends next month in the central region, which is widely exposed to the sea.

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