Facebook Twitter

Dozens die as storms rip Vietnam and Pacific islands

SHARE Dozens die as storms rip Vietnam and Pacific islands

Powerful storms lashed Vietnam and several Pacific islands, killing dozens of people and sinking hundreds of fishing boats, authorities said Monday.

Tropical Storm Linda struck Vietnam early Monday with gusts up to 80 mph, while over the weekend a typhoon hit the Northern Mariana Islands and a cyclone ravaged the northern part of the Cook Islands.Linda hit Vietnam's southern coast, sinking at least 200 fishing boats and leaving 1,150 more boats missing, officials said.

The exact death toll was not known, but authorities said "dozens were confirmed dead." That estimate was likely to rise - perhaps into the hundreds - as rescue crews recovered capsized and damaged boats.

"This is the biggest storm to hit this area in nearly 100 years," said Nguyen Tat Hoan, a senior official from the Flood and Storm Control Department in Hanoi.

Thousands of families were left homeless after Linda swept across Ca Mau province, destroying 13,000 clapboard and mud homes, a government official told The Associated Press.

Vietnam's Meteorological Office said Linda had moved across the southern tip of Vietnam and was heading into the Gulf of Thailand. As of Monday, Thai officials were referring to the weather pattern as a typhoon.

An American company drilling for natural gas was evacuating more than 700 people from rigs in the Gulf of Thailand. It wasn't known how many Americans made up the workforce.

The company, which suspended drilling on Saturday, said later Monday that the typhoon had passed northward of its offshore gas fields without causing any apparent damage.

Thailand's Interior Ministry set up a center to help those who may be affected by the severe winds and rain, warning people about the possibility of flash floods and ordering officials to move people out of risky areas.