HUE, Vietnam (Reuters) – The death toll rose to at least 27 on Sunday from the typhoon that pummelled central and southern Vietnam just days before the region is due to host the APEC summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.
Typhoon Damrey, the 12th major storm to hit Vietnam this year, made landfall on Saturday with winds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) that damaged more than 40,000 homes, knocked down electricity poles and uprooted trees.
The communist state’s Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention said 27 people were now counted dead and 22 were missing. It said 626 houses had collapsed entirely. More than 30,000 people have been evacuated.
Heavy rain and high winds lashed the coastal strip on Sunday. Flooding led to a 30 km (19 miles) tailback on Vietnam’s main north-south highway in Thua Thien Hue province.
The heaviest impact of the typhoon was near the city of Nha Trang, which is around 500 km (310 miles) south of the coastal city of Danang, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is taking place this week.
Danang itself also suffered. A gateway proclaiming “Welcome to Danang” collapsed in the storm, state media said. Authorities in the area called on citizens to volunteer to help clean up.
Danang will host U.S. President Donald Trump from Nov. 10, as well as China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and counterparts from other APEC members.
The storm moved from the coastal area into a key coffee-growing area of the world’s biggest producer of robusta coffee beans. Traders had expected the storm to delay harvesting, but were not sure whether it would damage the crop.
The government said on Saturday more than 40,000 hectares of crops had been damaged, including sugar cane, rice fields and rubber plantations.
Floods killed more than 80 people in northern Vietnam last month, while a typhoon wreaked havoc in central provinces in September. The country of more than 90 million people is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.
(Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Paul Tait)
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