Typhoon Lingling kills 18 in Vietnam, injures dozens and destroys more than 1,000 homes

Monday, November 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Typhoon Lingling roared ashore in central Vietnam on Monday, killing at least 18 people, knocking out power and destroying hundreds of homes.

The storm, which left 171 confirmed dead and another 118 missing in the Philippines, brought 83 mph gusts when it hit Vietnam between Phu Yen and Binh Dinh provinces, the National Center for Hydro Meteorology said.

Provincial officials reported 13 deaths in Phu Yen, two in Binh Dinh and three in Quang Ngai province. Seventy-six others were injured in the three provinces.

More than 100 houses were destroyed in Phu Yen province and electricity had been cut off since Sunday night, said Nguyen Tai, a local government official.

Binh Dinh officials said nearly 900 homes had collapsed there, while 100 homes in neighboring Quang Ngai were destroyed. National train service was disrupted in some areas.

The typhoon lost strength after hitting land and was downgraded to a severe tropical storm. It continued to move westward at 9 mph with winds of 37 mph, said meteorologist Le Thanh Hai.

``Lingling has passed through the coastal areas and is moving into the Central Highlands right now,'' he said. He said the storm was expected to gradually weaken and hit northern Cambodia and southern Laos by late Monday afternoon.

The typhoon's impact was spread over the seven central Vietnamese provinces from Quang Tri to Phu Yen, home to nearly 6 million people.

Vietnamese rescue officials, the military and police were put on high alert over the weekend. Relief officials evacuated children and the elderly from homes in low-lying areas near the coast and put them in shelters.

On Friday, the government barred all fishing boats from sailing and signaled offshore boats to return to land.

In the Philippines, disaster officials said Lingling destroyed 800 houses and caused an estimated $10 million in damage to infrastructure and farms in 12 provinces. It was the 14th major storm to hit the Philippines this year.

Crews recovered the bodies of eight of 14 miners buried alive in a landslide at an open-pit copper mine in the Philippines' central Cebu province.

The Philippines' president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, attended a memorial Mass for victims in the town of Mahinog, where 104 residents died. She also visited a camp of evacuated residents, where she handed out bags of rice and checks to help villagers with burial costs.

Also Sunday, the Philippines Coast Guard said a freighter had rescued 19 Filipino crewmen reported missing after Lingling sank their cargo ship on Friday. The men survived the storm in a lifeboat, said Lt. Commander Felipe Macababad.

In Vietnam, heavy rain and floods last month killed 53 people in the central provinces. In the south, seasonal flooding in the Mekong Delta has killed 366 people, including 286 children.

In late 1999, the worst flooding in a century hit Central Vietnam, killing more than 700 people.