Ketsana Death Toll Rises to 41 in Vietnam

Vietnamese police officers clear the street blocked by a fallen down tree after the area was hit by Typhoon Ketsana in Danang, Vietnam, Sept. 29, 2009.
AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency
Updated at 12:26 a.m. EASTERN
Typhoon Ketsana has killed 41 people in Vietnam and left a trail of destruction across the country's central region, disaster officials and the government said Wednesday.

The bodies of two people were recovered from their homes after being buried by a landslide, bringing the toll in Quang Nam province to seven, said Nguyen Hoai Phuong, a provincial disaster official. Parts of the province were still isolated by flood waters and its main highway remained partially submerged.

"The rivers are rising and many homes are flooded, and several mountainous districts have been isolated by mudslides," said Nguyen Minh Tuan, a provincial disaster official.

Quang Nam is the home of the ancient city of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Another four died in Thua Thien Hue province, said disaster official Dang Van Minh

Elsewhere in the central region, 30 deaths were reported in six other provinces, including 13 deaths in the Central Highland province of Kon Tum, the government said in a statement. The deaths include five members of a family whose house was buried in a landslide.

The typhoon also left 10 people missing, destroyed or damaged nearly 170,000 homes and damaged crops and irrigation systems in the region, the statement said. More than 350,000 people were evacuated before the typhoon slammed into the central coast Tuesday.

Flooding from the typhoon killed 246 people in the Philippines, inundating the homes of nearly 2.3 million people over the weekend before slamming into Vietnam's central coast Tuesday. The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression after crossing into Laos early Wednesday, the National Weather Forecast Center said.

After gathering strength over the South China Sea, the typhoon made landfall in midafternoon, about 37 miles south of Danang, according to the National Weather Center.

As the storm moved inland towards Laos, nine people died in Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands, including a family of five whose house was buried in a mudslide, disaster official Nguyen Van Vy said.

Deaths were also reported in Danang and the province of Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai.

Authorities evacuated 170,000 people from six central provinces as the typhoon approached and heavy winds began lashing Vietnam's central coast in the morning, officials said.

Rains and heavy winds began lashing the Vietnam coast Tuesday morning, knocking out electricity in some places.

"There's a blackout across our entire province," said Truong Ngoc Nhi, vice governor of Quang Ngai province, south of Danang. "Many streets are strewn with fallen trees and utility poles. It looks like a battlefield."

Vietnam Airlines canceled all flights to the tourist destinations of Danang and Hue.

Light rains were reported in the region where most rivers peaked Wednesday morning and began receding slowly, the center said.