Typhoon Lekima Slams Into Vietnam's Coast, Killing 2; Hundreds of Houses Destroyed
Wednesday, October 3rd 2007, 9:36 pm
By: News On 6
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Typhoon Lekima slammed into Vietnam's central coast Wednesday night, killing two people, destroying hundreds of houses and unleashing floods in one of the country's poorest regions.
The storm made landfall in Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces around 7 p.m., packing winds of more than 80 mph, disaster officials said.
Disaster officials had evacuated about 400,000 people from the region, moving them to schools and public buildings further inland.
A 13-year-old boy drowned in Quang Ngai while trying to anchor his family's boat, and another death was reported in Quang Binh province, said provincial disaster official Truong Ngoc Hung.
Hundreds of houses collapsed and the typhoon tore the roofs off scores more, said disaster official Nguyen Duc Tien.
The typhoon knocked down telephone and power lines in Ha Tinh Province, causing widespread blackouts.
Lekima, named after a Vietnamese fruit, destroyed thousands of acres of rice crops in Nghe An Province, according to officials there.
The tempest was downgraded to a tropical storm when arriving in neighboring Laos early Thursday morning and was expected to weaken further to a depression over the next several hours, according to the national weather forecast center.
Lekima was upgraded from a tropical storm to a typhoon as it approached the coast Wednesday afternoon.
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 and began heading to Vietnam, which is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.