Typhoon Slams Central Vietnam Coast

Thursday, October 4th 2007, 10:03 am
By: News On 6

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Three people were killed and 58 injured after Typhoon Lekima slammed into central Vietnam, destroying and damaging more than 70,000 homes, officials said Thursday.

Packing winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, the typhoon also left one person missing after it made landfall late Wednesday in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, knocking down trees and power poles, said Le Duc Thanh of the Department of Floods and Storms Control.

Three people drowned including a 13-year-old boy who attempted to anchor his family's boat during the storm.

The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching neighboring Laos early Thursday, the national weather forecast center said.

Lekima destroyed or damaged more than 29,000 homes in Quang Binh province, where 33 people were injured by fallen trees or flying debris, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien.

In neighboring province of Ha Tinh to the north, 25 people were injured and more than 42,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, provincial disaster officials there said.

Named after a Vietnamese fruit, Lekima also destroyed thousands of hectares of rice crops in Nghe An province, officials said.

Earlier, Lekima appeared to be heading toward southern China, where officials evacuated 100,000 people and called 20,000 fishing boats back to harbor.

It shifted course early Wednesday and began heading to Vietnam, which is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.