Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:30am EDT
HANOI (Reuters) – Flash floods and landslides have killed 50 people in Vietnam and Thailand, swept away thousands of homes and inundated farmland, official reports said on Sunday.
In Vietnam, the death toll from typhoon Hagupit, which struck the Philippines and China earlier in the week, has jumped to 32 with another five people missing.
Thousands of homes were either washed away or destroyed by heavy rains and landslides in northern Vietnam, the government’s storm and flood prevention committee said.
Hagupit, which means “lashing” in Filipino, killed at least eight people in the Philippines and three in China where it triggered a “once-in-a-century storm tide.”
Vietnamese soldiers were dispatched to evacuate thousands of people from areas vulnerable to more flash floods and landslides in the mountainous provinces of Son La, Lang Son and Bac Giang.
Heavy rains on Sunday could trigger more landslides in the mountainous north, and flooding along the Thai Binh river, the National Meteorology Center said.
The Red River near the capital Hanoi was expected to reach dangerously high levels on Sunday, rising to 8.6 meters (28 ft), the center said.
Vietnam’s main agriculture belt including the coffee-growing Central Highlands region and the Mekong Delta rice basket was not in the storm’s path.
In Thailand, the death toll from floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains has risen to 18, while nearly 190,000 people have been treated for water-related illnesses and injuries, the Health Ministry said.
It said there were no major outbreaks of disease since the heavy rains began more than two weeks ago, affecting some 800,000 people in the country of 63 million.
Some 500,000 acres of farmland, most of it rice paddy, has been inundated, affecting roughly 2 percent of the total paddy for the 2008-09 growing season, according the Agriculture Ministry data.
(Reporting by Nguyen Nhat Lam and Arada Therdthammakun; Writing by Darren Schuettler; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)