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Floods kill more than two dozen in Vietnam, displacing tens of thousands

Floods have killed more than two dozen people in Vietnam. About 80,000 people have been displaced during the floods, caused by heavy rain from a new tropical depression in the South China Sea.

On Sunday, television footage showed inundated houses and streets in the town of Hoi An and the former Imperial City of Hue, both among Vietnam's many UNESCO World Heritage sites, where authorities have evacuated hundreds of tourists. At least 28 people have died over several days of flooding, the most destructive since 1999.

"More than 100,000 houses have been flooded and transport by road, air and rail has been severely affected across the region," said Nguyen Quang Trung, an official in the coastal city of Danang who added that the floods have hit several central provinces. Nguyen said that "rain continued to fall on Sunday morning in the coastal provinces of Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh - where at least 20 people were killed," and estimated the initial property damage at about $65 million (48 million euros).

Officials evacuated hundreds of thousands of people over a week ago before the arrival of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed an estimated 4,000 people in the Philippines before crossing the South China Sea. However, the typhoon weakened before reaching Vietnam's coast, sparing the country the damage it did to the Philippines.

The current storm, caused by a tropical depression, still managed to catch the country off-guard.

"I have never seen such a large-scale flood in Binh Dinh province in the past 30 years" Phan Xuan Hai, director of the regional Committee for Storm and Flood Control, told the news agency dpa on Friday.

mkg/hc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)