Landslides kill at least 19 after heavy rain in Vietnam

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At least 19 people have been killed and dozens are missing after torrential rains caused by a powerful typhoon triggered landslides in Vietnam.

Typhoon Molave slammed into the coast near Da Nang city on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and strong winds.

The typhoon has affected more than a million people in central Vietnam, leaving destruction in its wake.

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Around 375,000 people were evacuated to safety before Molave struck with winds reaching 85mph (145 km/h).

But as the typhoon moved west towards Thailand and Myanmar on Thursday, rescuers were scrambling to find survivors after several landslides in rural Vietnamese villages.

Rescuers have pulled at least 19 bodies from the mud across three villages in the central Quang Nam province, state media reported. The exact death toll remains unclear, with some reports suggesting the number could be higher.

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Many more people, at least 40 according to some reports, are yet to be accounted for.

“My two daughters were pulled out from the mud by neighbours,” a resident in the area, Ho Thi Ha, told AFP news agency. “But my father is dead and now I have nothing. Everything is buried in the mud.”

Hundreds of troops with heavy equipment were deployed to assist rescue efforts, which have been hampered by bad weather.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung visited the site of one landslide, where soldiers were clearing up with bulldozers.

“We can forecast the storm path or the amount of rain, but can’t predict when landslides happen,” he said. “The road is covered under deep mud and heavy rains are still lashing the area, but rescue work has to be carried out quickly.”

A woman clears debris from inside her house after it got damaged by the typhoon

Separately, the bodies of 12 fisherman were found on Thursday, state media reported. It said their boat sank on Wednesday as the typhoon approached.

Vietnam has been battered by storms, heavy rains and floods since early October.

Typhoon Molave, the fourth storm to hit Vietnam this month, has compounded the already dire conditions in areas badly affected by weeks of flooding.

Women walk past uprooted trees in central Vietnam's Quang Ngai province

The Red Cross said the typhoon had ripped the roofs off 90,000 homes, left 700 communities without power and destroyed infrastructure, crops and safe drinking water supplies.

“We are heartbroken by more tragic loss of life as this typhoon has brought further misery and hardships to hundreds of thousands of people in central Vietnam,” said Vietnam Red Cross Society president Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu.

Forecasters say heavy rain is expected to continue in parts of central Vietnam until Saturday.

Before Molave hit Vietnam, it passed through the Philippines, where it caused flooding and landslides that disaster authorities on Thursday said had killed at least 16 people.

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