The death toll rose to at least 27 on Sunday from the typhoon that pummeled central and southern Vietnam just days before the region is due to host the APEC summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.
Typhoon Damrey, the 12th major storm to hit Vietnam this year, made landfall on Saturday withwinds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) that damaged more than 40,000 homes, knocked down electricity poles and uprooted trees.
The country’s Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention said 27 people were now counted dead and 22 were missing. It said 626 houses had collapsed entirely in a trail of destruction that has forced the evacuation of more than 30,000 people.
Heavy rain and high winds lashed the coastal strip on Sunday. Flooding led to a 30 km (19 miles) tailback on Vietnam’s main north-south highway in Thua Thien – Hue Province.
Battle tanks were mobilized to help with rescue efforts.
“The floodwaters are rising very fast,” said Dinh Cong Hoa, deputy commander of the provincial military command in Nha Trang, which bore the brunt of the typhoon.
One middle-aged woman in Nha Trang, Vo Thi Tuyet Anh, told state television: “I’ve never seen such a strong storm since I was born.”
Da Nang, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit is taking place this coming week, is around 500 km (310 miles) to the north of Nha Trang. It also suffered.
A gateway proclaiming “Welcome to Da Nang” collapsed in the storm, state media said. Authorities in the area called on citizens to volunteer to help clean up.
Da Nang will host U.S. President Donald Trump from November 10, as well as China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and counterparts from other APEC members.
The storm moved from the coastal area into a key coffee-growing region of the world’s biggest producer of robusta coffee beans. Traders had expected the storm to delay harvesting, but were not sure whether it would damage the crop.
The government said on Saturday more than 40,000 hectares of crops had been damaged, including sugar cane, rice fields and rubber plantations.
Floods killed more than 80 people in northern Vietnam last month, while a typhoon wreaked havoc in central provinces in September. The country of more than 90 million people is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.