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Death toll mounts to 72 as another rainmaker nears flood-ravaged Vietnam


The death toll caused by worst floods to hit Vietnam in decades has reached 72, Vietnamese officials said Monday, October 16, 2017. 30 people are still unaccounted for, including 13 in Yen Bai and 10 in Hoa Binh.  The announcement comes on the same day the country is bracing for yet another heavy rainmaker.

After destructive floods battered Vietnam's north and central regions last week, killing 72 people, the country today braced for yet another heavy rain maker, again in the form of a tropical cyclone (Khanun, now Tropical Depression 24W).

The floods that hit Vietnam starting Monday, October 9 were caused by Tropical Depression 23 which moved into north-central Vietnam during the early morning hours of Tuesday, October 10 (local time), forcing authorities to order the evacuation of more than 200 000 people.

In the vicinity of where the depression moved inland, the city of Vinh reported 261 mm (10.3 inches) of rain in the 24 hours ending on Tuesday evening. Another 58 mm (2.3 inches) followed the next day.

The rain was falling across the country almost entire last week, with some areas recording up to 500 mm (19.7 inches) within just three days. Further heavy rain fell between October 12 and 15, bringing additional 150 mm (5.9 inches). 

There are at least 317 homes destroyed in floods and landslides and more than 34 000 submerged or damaged. 

In addition, more than 22 000 ha (54 300 acres) of agricultural land (mostly rice) have also been damaged and around 180 000 animals killed or washed away.

While several towns still remain cut off by the floodwaters, all the significant rivers in the area have now started to fall. This, however, is happening before what's left of Khanun reaches the country, bringing more rain to already heavily soaked ground.

Khanun formed over the Philippine Sea on October 12, after it passed over the northern Philippines on October 13, and continued moving west-southwest passing over the Xuwen County, China's Guangdong Province as a Typhoon on October 15.

At 00:00 UTC on October 16, its center was located over the Gulf of Tonkin approximately 100 km (62 miles) west-northwest of Xuwen city (Guangdong Province) with a maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph).

Tropical Depression 24W - Khanun - JTWC forecast track

Although Khanun has since weakened into a tropical depression (TD 24W), heavy rain and strong winds are expected to affect coastal regions of Northern Vietnam over the next few days and spread further inland.

Featured image: Typhoon "Khanun" on October 16, 2017. Credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP / VIIRS

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