Vietnam’s death toll from storm rises to 8

Fishermen move a fishing boat to higher ground ahead of tropical storm Mekkhala in central city of Danang, Vietnam Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. The storm lammed into central Vietnam Tuesday, knocking down trees, electricity poles and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in high risk areas, officials said. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

Fishermen move a fishing boat to higher ground ahead of tropical storm Mekkhala in central city of Danang, Vietnam Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. The storm lammed into central Vietnam Tuesday, knocking down trees, electricity poles and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in high risk areas, officials said. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The bodies of two children and three fishermen were recovered in central Vietnam, raising the death toll from Tropical Storm Mekkhala to eight with eight others still missing and feared dead, disaster officials said Thursday.

The bodies of the 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy were found Wednesday after they were washed away from their house in Ha Tinh province, disaster official Nguyen Khoa Thanh said. Rescuers also recovered the bodies of three fishermen in Quang Tri and Quang Binh provinces, where four others remained missing after the storm sank their boats, provincial officials said.

Four people remained unaccounted for in Thanh Hoa province, disaster official Do Minh Chinh said.

Mekkhala slammed into Vietnam’s central coast Tuesday morning before moving to Laos later the same day.

The storm, packing winds of 55 mph, destroyed or blew the roofs off of hundreds of houses and sank dozens of boats. It also triggered heavy rains across the region.

Mekkhala hit as northern Vietnam was still recovering from Typhoon Hagupit, which struck last Thursday. Floods triggered by the typhoon killed 41 people and caused an estimated $65 million in damage.

Another tropical storm, Higos, was churning across Vietnamese maritime territory toward China’s Hainan island on Thursday and threatening hundreds of fishermen stuck at sea, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien of Quang Binh province.

“We are not allowing people to go fishing at the moment,” Dien said.

Higos was not expected to hit the Vietnamese mainland directly.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai urged the Foreign Ministry to contact countries in the region to allow Vietnamese fishermen in the storm’s path to take shelter, the national committee on floods and storms control said.

Vietnam is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jJ5jMaW4fyQYg2hqvNQ5U0ZJtF3gD93I7BRO1

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