Flooding kills 18 in central Vietnam, raising death toll for November to 69

 http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/12/asia/AS-GEN-Vietnam-Floods.php

HANOI, Vietnam: Floods in central Vietnam killed at least 18 people over the weekend, raising the death toll from flooding in November to 69, disaster officials said Monday.

The floods were the fifth round to strike the central region since early October and submerged large areas.

About 1.5 meters (5 feet) of water surrounded nearly 500 old homes in the historic town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, said Mayor Le Van Giang.

“The situation is very dangerous,” Giang said. “Evacuating people is our top priority now.”

The latest flooding killed six people in Binh Dinh province, where many telephone and electrical services were knocked out and about 800,000 people were living in flooded areas, said disaster official Vo Thanh Tien.

“Water is everywhere,” Tien said. “We are trying hard to provide food relief.”

Floods killed 12 people in five other central provinces, disaster officials said.

In one area, flooding washed hundreds of crocodiles from a state-owned farm that held 5,000 of them. Soldiers, militiamen and forest rangers were hunting the animals Monday, said the local provincial governor, Vo Lam Phi.

Using AK-47 assault rifles, soldiers shot and killed 11 crocodiles as they crawled up a river bank toward nearby villages, said Nguyen Nhu Long, an officer with Khanh Hoa military command. Crocodiles are farmed in Vietnam and other Asian countries for their skin and meat.

The crocodiles had escaped into a stream that passes the farm and then joins a river flowing through several villages.

“We have warned the villagers to be careful and asked them to call the authorities if they spot any crocodiles,” Phi said.

Typhoons and floods have killed 211 people since early October in central and northern Vietnam, which is battered by lethal storms every year.

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