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Deadly storm sweeps Vietnam, Cambodia

Central Vietnam and Cambodia are reeling after being hit by tropical storm Wutip. The combined death toll for the two countries has reached 53 people. China has also said 70 of its fishermen are missing offshore.

Residents of central Vietnam began a clean-up on Tuesday after the strongest storm to hit the region this year. Vietnamese state media said 250,000 houses were destroyed or damaged.

Tropical Storm Wutip moved into north-western Laos on Tuesday and weakened to a tropical depression. The death toll in Vietnam stands at 23, and at 30 in Cambodia.

China's official Xinhua news agency said naval ships and aircraft had been sent to search for survivors after three Chinese fishing boats sank in waters whipped up by the storm.

Two survivors had been rescued but 70 other fishermen remained missing, Xinhua said.

Windspeeds had peaked at 117 kilometers per hour (73 miles per hour).

Power outages

The Vietnamese news website VNExpress said electricity supplies to many central areas in Vietnam had been disrupted.

State media said floodwaters had destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of hectares of crops. Two of those killed had been crushed by a falling radio station antenna.

To reduce the risk, 70,000 people living in coastal areas were evacuated ahead of Witup's arrival.

Cambodian disaster management official Keo Vy said thousands of families had to be evacuated from flooded areas.

Vietnam is hit by an average of eight to 10 tropical storms every year. In recent weeks, floods have also claimed 22 lives in Thailand.

ipj/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)

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