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46 killed in landslides, floods in Vietnam

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Landslides and flooding leave 46 dead, 21 missing in central Vietnam
  • Homes of 200,000 people and 8,000 hectares of rice fields are underwater
  • Rescuers saved 18 people after their bus was swept away, but 19 are still missing
  • Two weeks earlier, 66 people in the region died after record-setting rains caused flooding

(CNN) -- The death toll from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding in central Vietnam continues to soar, with 46 people killed and 21 missing, state-run media report.

Rescuers were able to save 18 people whose bus was swept away Monday on the north-south highway 1A through Ha Tinh Province, but 19 people remain unaccounted for, according to VietNamNet.

The homes of 200,000 people are underwater in Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Bing provinces because of floods caused by storms that began October 14, official media report. On Sunday alone, about 30 inches of rain fell in parts of the country.

The storms have hit the southeast Asian nation's agricultural sector hard, with waters inundating 8,000 hectares (31 square miles) of rice fields. Prices of some crops have increased 200 to 500 percent as a result.

This storm follows rains and floods at the beginning of October in Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Bing, Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces that caused an estimated $137.5 million in damage, according to VietNamNet.

The two rounds of flood calamities have contributed to the deaths of 112 people, reported state-run television network VTV4, which cited Vietnam's Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control as its source.

The Vietnamese government has dispatched 20,000 troops to help with the rescue and recovery process in the latest flooding, with Red Cross staffers from Vietnam, Spain, China, Germany and the United States among those helping the cause, reported VietNamNet.

The number of fatalities has climbed significantly in recent days. On Monday, state-run media were reporting that at least 20 people had died.

A flood and landslide warning remains in effect for much of the region, with water levels dangerously high in the Ca River in Nghe An province and the Ngan Sau River in Ha Tinh province. Landslides have already dumped tons of dirt and debris, clogging the Pe Ke mountain pass and parts of the Ho Chi Minh Highway.

And the situation might get worse, as Typhoon Megi, also known as Typhoon Juan, barrels across the South China Sea after killing 11 people in the Philippines. Besides rain, the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting forecasts strong winds, big waves and rough seas over the next several days.