Typhoon Lekima kills 12 in South-east Asia

Typhoon Lekima lashed Vietnam and southern China with torrential rains and high winds, killing at least seven people, damaging hundreds of homes and disrupting air, sea and train travel, officials said on Thursday.

The storm, which killed at least five people in the Philippines at the weekend, swept into central Vietnam from the sea on Wednesday night, blowing roofs off houses, sinking scores of fishing vessels and grounding flights before moving to Laos.

In central Vietnam, the typhoon raised rivers to dangerous levels.

“Precaution must be taken against flash floods, landslides on mountainous rivers and streams and inundation in the delta on riversides in provinces in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh,” the national weather centre in Hanoi said on Thursday.

It said Lekima crossed Laos on Wednesday night and advanced into northern Thailand where it weakened into a depression.

Vietnam faces up to 10 storms a year, causing millions of dollars in damage and sometimes killing hundreds of people.

Lekima, the fifth storm in 2007, killed seven people and three others were missing, officials said.

The storm hit China’s beach resort of Sanya on Hainan island on Tuesday, trapping tourists and forcing the evacuation of 225 000 people. Vietnamese authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people before the storm hit.

A Vietnamese government report said many areas reported blackouts due to Lekima, the Vietnamese name of a fruit.

Three cargo vessels capsized while taking shelter at a port in the central province of Quang Binh, where Lekima’s centre passed, a Reuters reporter travelling in the region said.

National carrier Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines, the second-largest airliner, cancelled flights to the central cities of Vinh, Hue and Danang on Wednesday.

Earlier most shipping and rail services linking Hainan with the mainland resumed late on Wednesday as Lekima weakened, Xinhua news agency reported.

Train services between Sanya, the main tourist centre on the island known as China’s Hawaii, and Shanghai and Beijing were expected to resume on Thursday, the report said.

The southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi were hit with heavy rain and strong winds. - Reuters

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