Typhoon hits Vietnam, Cambodia with some of worst floods in decades

Typhoon Ketsana, which devastated the Philippines, killed 38 people and displaced 375,000 in Vietnam before hitting Cambodia en route to Thailand and Laos.

The typhoon that ravaged the Philippines on Saturday is now ripping through central Vietnam and Cambodia, where it has killed dozens, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and unleashed torrential rains that could cause some of the worst flooding in decades.

Authorities in Vietnam say the typhoon, packing 90 mph winds, killed 38 people before heading further inland into Cambodia and heading toward Laos and Thailand. The storm has since weakened, but Cambodia’s province of Kampong Tham has been hard hit, with as many as 11 people reported dead and nearly 80 houses destroyed.

Vietnam has been left reeling from the devastation. The typhoon, which set down on Tuesday, destroyed nearly 300,000 homes and forced 357,000 people to evacuate, reports Reuters.

Some 50,000 acres of agricultural land have been affected. Waters have also flooded the ancient palace city of Hue, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, adds Agence France-Presse.

The worst may not be over. By Wednesday, rivers in Vietnam appeared ready to swell beyond levels not seen since 1964, reports Vietnam’s Thanh Nien news:

In fact, with the rainfall measuring up to 1,300 millimeters in some localities like Thua Thien – Hue on Tuesday evening, water levels in the Tra Bong River reached 5.58 meters, 0.19 meters higher than the historic flood peak in 1964.

Authorities were struggling Wednesday to reach areas cut off due to power outages and blocked roads, such as the Nhon Chau Island in Binh Dinh Province, where 2,000 people cannot be reached. Authorities say that, as river waters continues to rise, the biggest challenge is getting food to isolated populations and stopping the spread of diseases, Thanh Nien adds.

Prior to the typhoon touching down in Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen made an urgent appeal to “authorities at all levels to take all necessary measures to protect the people who might be affected by the typhoon,” reports China’s Xinhua news service.

The BBC adds that international aid organizations and local government authorities in Cambodia were sending tents and food supplies to the affected province, which is about 80 miles north of the capital, Phnom Penh.

By Wednesday, the typhoon had downgraded to a tropical depression as it passed into Laos, where no casualties were reported, and was expected to make its way to Thailand, where residents were on alert for flash floods, according to MCOT English news.

As Southeast Asia feels the impact, the Philippines is still staggering to its feet from the devastation wrought there. Some two million people have been affected and 246 killed. Many in the capital, Manila, have been reduced to waiting on excruciatingly long lines for food, reports Bloomberg.

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