December 16, 2005

Landslides kill 9 in Vietnam

HANOI (Reuters) - Landslides triggered by prolonged rains
in central Vietnam have killed nine road workers, taking the
total death toll in the region in recent weeks to 41, officials
said on Saturday.

The bodies of only six of the nine dead have been recovered
and rescue workers are searching for the others, officials in
the central province of Khanh Hoa told Reuters.

Rains which began in late November have inundated more than
30,000 hectares (74,130 acres) of newly-planted rice crops and
triggered flash floods that killed 32 others in the central
provinces of Binh Dinh, Ninh Thuan and Quang Ngai.

"The rains have weakened but the new danger now is
landslides so we advise all travellers to take extra caution
when traveling through the region," said a weather forecaster
in Khanh Hoa, home to the popular resort town of Nha Trang.

Heavy rains also damaged roads and disrupted traffic.

Weather forecasters in the country's top coffee-growing
province of Daklak told Reuters rains had resumed after a
temporary pause on Friday and they expected more showers over
the weekend.

Prolonged rains in Vietnam's Central Highlands coffee belt
have delayed the harvest there and made it difficult for
farmers to dry newly-picked coffee cherries.