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Floods and landslides kill 37, leave 40 missing in Vietnam

Written by Maritime First

…As 74 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast***

Floods and landslides after a tropical depression have killed at least 37 people, left another 40 missing and damaged homes and crops in northern and central Vietnam, officials said.

The disasters injured 21 people and destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 houses, submerged another 16,740 homes and damaged infrastructure and crops in six central and northern provinces, the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said in a statement Thursday.

In the hardest-hit northern province of Hoa Binh, 11 people died and 21 others were missing. The casualties include four families whose houses were buried in a landslide early Thursday while they were sleeping, killing six and leaving another 12 missing, disaster official Quach Viet Hoang said.

Rescuers were trying to search for the missing, Hoang added.

Evacuations were ordered for 200,000 people in Ninh Binh province in the north.

The tropical depression hit central Vietnam on Tuesday and brought heavy rains.

More rains are forecast for some parts of northern and central regions Thursday as a cold spell is moving from southern China to Vietnam, the disaster agency said. Also, adding another tropical depression was expected to hit the Philippines on Thursday evening and could strengthen to a tropical storm when it moves to the South China Sea.

Agriculture Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong was quoted as telling a government emergency meeting Wednesday that it was the first time in a decade that northern and central regions suffered such a big volume of rains in a short period of time.

Rains of up to 50 centimeters were reported over the three-day period until Wednesday in some parts of central and northern regions.

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

In the meantime, Libyan coast guards have rescued 74 illegal immigrants, including women and children, from a damaged rubber boat off the western shores of the country, according to a medical source.

“A patrol of the Libyan Coast Guards and the western Ports Security rescued 74 illegal immigrants, including 22 women and 4 children, who were on board a broken rubber boat off the coast of the western city of Zawiya,” Amir Jamal Al-Bishti of the international medical committee of EU told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Al-Bishti said that all the rescued migrants are of African nationalities, confirming that the migrants were taken to the capital Tripoli for medical assistance before taking them to a housing center.

Libya is a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants who want to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores, due to the insecurity and chaos in the country since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi`s regime in 2011.

Smugglers send thousands of migrants in rickety boats towards Europe, many of whom drown on the way. Immigrants who are rescued at sea by Libyan Navy are taken to reception centres with poor living conditions.

ABC with additional report from Zee

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