Typhoon Damrey slams Vietnam, strongest in 16 years

Vietnam has been struck by a destructive tropical cyclone just a week before hosting the APEC conference.

    At least 27 people were killed and 22 are missing, according to Vietnam News, after Typhoon Damrey ripped into southern Vietnam.

    The devastating storm struck on Saturday - a week before the country welcomes world leaders to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

    Vietnam is no stranger to cyclones but Accuweather reported this was the strongest in the area for 16 years. Damrey, cyclone number 12 of the year, made landfall near Nha Trang with the equivalent strength of a Category 2 hurricane.

    Steady winds of 140 kph with higher gusts were reported to have sunk as many as 228 vessels - mostly small fishing boats off the coast of Phu Yen Province - and 17 of the people missing were the crew of a cargo ship.

    More than 36,000 people in the coastal Can Gio district of Ho Chi Min city were evacuated as thousands of houses were damaged and more 600 destroyed. Hundreds of trees and electricity poles were felled, taking the power supply out. Maybe more significantly was the destruction of 40,000 hectares of crops.

    Heavy rain and high tide combined to inundate a number of areas in Ho Chi Min, with many roads in downtown districts under a half-metre of water. But the rain was heavier still to the north of the centre of the typhoon.

    Hue was flooded with 93mm of rain but that was about the northern limit of the heavy rain. Quang Ngai seemed to catch most of the downpour - an outstanding 580mm since Damrey's rain started there on Friday.

    By now mostly disintegrated, Damrey spent Sunday crossing neighbouring Cambodia, dropping at least 100mm of rain along its path to the Gulf of Thailand.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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