23 dead as Typhoon Ketsana roars into Vietnam

Han River floods over Bach Dang Street in Danang, Vietnam, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 as Typhoon Ketsana heads wesward to Vietnam after hitting Philippines. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency, Van Son)

Updated map showing the path of the storm that devastated northern Philippines and is now heading towards central Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of exhausted Philippine flood survivors endured squalor in schools, gymnasiums and other makeshift shelters as the death toll from the weekend disaster soared to 240. (AFP/Graphic)

By TRAN VAN MINH, Associated Press Writer
(Post by CAAI News Media)

HANOI, Vietnam – Typhoon Ketsana roared into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people as it brought flooding and winds of up to 90 mph (144 kph), disaster officials said. Some 170,000 were evacuated from its path.

Ketsana left more than 200 dead across the northern Philippines as a weaker tropical storm.

After gathering strength over the South China Sea, the typhoon made landfall in midafternoon, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of Danang, according to the National Weather Center.

Two people in Quang Nam province were killed by falling trees, and another died when struck by a power line, said Nguyen Minh Tuan, a provincial disaster official.

"The rivers are rising and many homes are flooded, and several mountainous districts have been isolated by mudslides," Tuan said.

Quang Nam is the home of the ancient city of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Another three died in Thua Thien Hue province, disaster official Le Minh said. A man was killed by a falling tree, a woman died in floodwaters and a 3-year-old drowned in a flooded home.

As the storm moved inland towards Laos, nine people died in Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands, including a family of five whose house was buried in a mudslide, disaster official Nguyen Van Vy said.

Deaths were also reported in Danang and the province of Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai.

Authorities evacuated 170,000 people from six central provinces as the typhoon approached and heavy winds began lashing Vietnam's central coast in the morning, officials said.

Rains and heavy winds began lashing the Vietnam coast Tuesday morning, knocking out electricity in some places.

"There's a blackout across our entire province," said Truong Ngoc Nhi, vice governor of Quang Ngai province, south of Danang. "Many streets are strewn with fallen trees and utility poles. It looks like a battlefield."

Vietnam Airlines canceled all flights to the tourist destinations of Danang and Hue.

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