Typhoon Ketsana leaves at least 38 dead in Vietnam

Hanoi  - At least 38 people are dead and 10 missing after typhoon Ketsana struck central Vietnam Tuesday morning, the country's national storm and flood authorities said Wednesday.

The typhoon brought winds of 117 kilometres per hour (kph) when it came ashore in the central province of Quang Nam, and dumped up to 900 millimetres of rain. Nearly 6,000 houses were destroyed by floods, wind or landslides, along with dozens of schools and health care centres.

There were reports of 115 fishing boats sunk. More than 14,000 hectares of rice and 12,000 hectares of vegetables were destroyed or flooded.

Some of the worst loss of life came not in the coastal regions, but in mountainous highland areas as the storm moved inland, bringing flash floods and mudslides.

Thirteen people were reported killed in the central highlands province of Kon Tum, including a family of five killed when a landslide buried their house and four workers swept away while repairing a road.

Vietnam's sole oil refinery at Dung Quat, which began operations this summer, suffered damage due to power failure. Workers were trying to restore the electricity Wednesday.

River levels were still rising fast, Le Minh Nhat, deputy head of the Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control in central Vietnam, told the German Press Agency dpa. Many towns and villages were under 1.5 metres of water.

The typhoon had reportedly weakened to a tropical low pressure zone by Wednesday morning, and was heading into Laos with wind speeds down to 40-50 kph.

Ketsana killed at least 246 people when it struck the Philippines over the weekend, causing estimated damage of 100 million dollars. (dpa)