May 20, 2006

China rescues 300 Vietnamese fishermen after typhoon

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has rescued more than 300
Vietnamese fishermen missing after a typhoon swept through the
South China Sea but also recovered 21 bodies, state television
said on Sunday.

Rescuers found the survivors on 22 Vietnamese ships near
the Pratas islands, off the southern coast of Guangdong
province, the report said, adding it was the largest
international marine rescue operation ever mounted by China.

It was unclear where the 21 bodies were found.

Typhoon Chanchu, the strongest on record to enter the South
China Sea in May, the start of the storm season, left a trail
of destruction in China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

It killed at least 37 people in the Philippines last
weekend, and by late Friday rescuers had found the bodies of 44
Vietnamese fishermen after their ships were caught in storm's

The typhoon, with winds of up to 170 km per hour (106 miles
per hour), killed 23 people in China after it slammed into the
southern coast on Thursday.

Vietnam's Fisheries Ministry had listed more than 400
fishermen as missing from Danang city and the nearby provinces
of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai.

Natural disasters, particularly storms and floods, kill
hundreds of people in Vietnam each year during the May-October
typhoon season.