Vietnam's worst typhoon in 20 years has left rescuers scouring landslides at two hillside villages. At least 19 bodies have been found, dozens of residents are still missing. Two fishing boat crews are also missing.
Soldiers using bulldozers searched in deep mud Thursday for landslide victims at two central Vietnamese hillside villages deluged during Typhoon Molave.
Described by authorities as Vietnam's worst storm in 20 years, it dumped rain on the central provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai, triggering landslides.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung inspected rescue work Thursday at two villages, where 19 bodies had so far been found, with at least 38 other people missing.
"All means," including helicopters, would be deployed in the rescue efforts, he said, as crews with excavators tried to repair roads made inaccessible by the storm.
Crews of two fishing boats that sank off Binh Dinh province as Typhoon Molave approached are also still missing. The storm brought winds of 135 kilometers per hour (84 miles per hour).
Rooves were blown off about 56,000 houses, Vietnam News reported, and power outages left 1.7 million Quang Nam residents in darkness.
Falling trees and house collapses also killed four people on Wednesday.
Downpours until Sunday were forecast to amount to 700 millimeters (28 inches) of rainfall and local media said further landslides were likely.
At least 40,000 people had been evacuated to emergency shelters as offices, factories and schools were shut down to avoid casualties.
Vietnam had already been reeling from two bouts of flooding and landslides earlier in October that claimed at least 130 lives.
Last weekend, Typhoon Molave had swept across the Philippines, causing fatalities, making it the 17th tropical cyclone to hit the island nation this year.
Indonesians, also prone to monsoon storms, were encouraged Thursday to use a "disaster" mapping tool to monitor floods, fires and earthquakes.
Codenamed PetaBecana, its makers said it scans social media posts to help residents better flag local conditions and alert emergency agencies.
Indonesia was expecting a 40% increase in rainfall during the current monsoon season, said website director Nashin Mahtani, referring to an oscillation in Pacific Ocean weather between drier and wetter phases.
Earlier this month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged authorities to prepare for the potentially hazardous weather phenomena known as La Nina.
ipj/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)