Source AP ©

Twenty-four people perished in flooding in Vietnam

24 people were killed by floods in Vietnam which were caused by heavy rains. Later this week a tropical storm is expected in the region.

The latest floods, the third to hit the area in three weeks, began Friday, killing people in seven coastal provinces, including seven in Phu Yen province.

Officials feared even more damage would be unleashed by tropical storm Peipah, which was expected to reach Vietnam on Friday.

"The last two floods already caused a lot of hardship," said Vo Thanh Tien, a disaster official in Binh Dinh province. "Now another one is coming."

Three people were killed in Binh Dinh over the weekend and one person was reported missing. In the neighboring province of Quang Ngai, five people drowned and telephone service was cut in many communities, said Dang Tao, a provincial disaster official. Nine people were killed in four other provinces.

About 300 old houses in the town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were flooded with nearly a meter (3 feet) of water, Mayor Le Van Giang said.

After years of regular flooding, the foundations of many of the riverside city's buildings have been weakened, Giang said. Hoi An needs to speed up its efforts to strengthen and preserve its architectural landmarks, he said.

"We are seriously concerned, as these old houses are the soul of Hoi An," Giang said. "If they are ruined Hoi An will not be Hoi An anymore."

Previous flooding killed dozens of people in the region, while Typhoon Lekima last month left 88 people dead.