Houses swept away as waves batter Vietnam’s south coast

 http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23086639-23109,00.html

HIGH ocean tides battering Vietnam’s southern coast have swept away or damaged dozens of homes and led authorities to evacuate scores of residents, local officials said.

“Very high waves completely destroyed 18 houses and damaged 17 others,” said Nguyen Thi Ngoc Suong, chairwoman of Phuoc Loc ward people’s committee in Binh Thuan province, after the houses collapsed into the sea on Saturday.

“In total 174 people have been evacuated,” she said.

State media reported that hundreds more homes in the area were threatened by the high sea swells.

Seasonal high tides hit Vietnam’s South China Sea coast every year, but residents in the region east of Ho Chi Minh City said they felt the construction of a nearby port had altered water flows and made them worse.

“The situation has become more dangerous since December 2005 when construction of the La Gi fishing port started,” said Ms Suong.

“We are looking at measures to solve this problem.”

Climate experts warn that global warming will hit Vietnam worse than most countries because its 3200km coast and low-lying Red and Mekong River deltas are vulnerable to storms, floods and rising sea levels.

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