Bad weather kills 6 in Vietnam, 11 missing in Philippines

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 24, 2011 5:03 AM
Bad weather kills 6 in Vietnam, 11 missing in Philippines

HANOI (Reuters) - Four men died in flash floods while fishing and two people were crushed to death in northern Vietnam as a weakening storm approached from the Gulf of Tonkin, state media said on Friday, while 11 fishermen were missing after storms in the Philippines.

Rescuers in Vietnam located one body after the four were swept away on Thursday following two days of strong rain in Yen Bai province, the Vietnam News daily said.

Another two people, one a pregnant woman, were killed and more than 50 injured as strong winds damaged around 850 houses in the northern port of Haiphong, 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Hanoi, state-run Vietnam Television said.

The accidents happened before storm Haima entered the Gulf of Tonkin on Thursday night, with its center 140 km (90 miles) east of Quang Ninh province at 7 a.m. (0000 GMT), the national weather center said.

Heavy rain at dawn on Friday submerged many streets in Hanoi, snarling rush hour traffic. More rain was forecast over the weekend.

Haima, the second storm to hit Vietnam this year, could trigger flash floods and landslides in mountainous areas in northern Vietnam, the government said. However, it was expected to weaken by Saturday morning as it moves inland.

The rain in the north may disrupt coal mining in Quang Ninh province, but should not affect output of commodities such as rice, grown much further to the south.

Vietnam's coastal forces said they sent out warnings to more than 50,000 fishing ships operating in the East Sea on Thursday.

In the Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said coastguards and navy ships were scouring the sea in the central Bicol region for 11 fishermen who had failed to return home on Wednesday.

Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines and Zest Air canceled 53 domestic flights from Manila on Friday as tropical storm Meari dumped nearly 10 cm (4 inches) of rain in three hours, disaster officials said.

"Schools in Metro Manila had been suspended due to floods and rains," Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, told reporters. Schools in several northern and central provinces were also closed.

The Agriculture Department put damage to crops since Haima hit last weekend at 658 million pesos ($15 million), including damage to 18,194 tons of unmilled rice, about 0.5 percent of national output expected in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Additional reporting by Manny Mogato and Rosemarie Francisco in Manila; Editing by Alan Raybould and Ron Popeski)