Source AP ©

Typhoon Lekima kills 61 in Vietnam

Typhoon Lekima killed 61 so far in Vietnam. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers may find more bodies. In addition, at least 15 people were missing and feared dead, officials said.

Packing winds of 130 kilometers per hour (80 mph), Typhoon Lekima made landfall last Wednesday in Vietnam's central provinces.

Four more bodies were found in Thanh Hoa on Sunday, bringing the death toll in that province to 10, said provincial official Nguyen Van Hoa. "The death toll is likely to rise as we just began to access different parts of the province where more than 50,000 people live in isolated areas," Hoa said.

In the mountainous province of Hoa Binh, the death toll stood at 10 after one more body was recovered Monday. Two people were still missing, said Doan Duc Thien, a disaster official.

Son La also reported one more death Monday. Floods and landslides killed at least eight people in the province. Three others are missing.

Nghe An was the worst-hit province with 22 deaths and three missing, said provincial disaster official Nguyen Truong Son. "Our top priority now is to provide relief aid to the flood victims and help them to rebuild their homes," he said.

Son said road transportation to some villages in the province was still impossible and military helicopters were called in to drop food to people.

Eleven people died in Quang Ngai, Quang Binh, Ninh Binh, Quang Tri, Yen Bai, Thai Binh and Quang Nam. Floods and landslides also left six others missing in Ninh Binh, Yen Bai and Quang Binh, officials there said.

Vietnam's Department of Floods and Storms Control said earlier the initial damage estimate from the typhoon was 659 billion dong (US$41 million; EUR 29 million), but this did not include the effects of flooding.

Nearly 5,000 soldiers and more than 30,000 militiamen have been mobilized to help people deal with the aftermath of the flooding, the department said.

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