Vietnam: Devastating landslides hit army camp

Rescue teams in Vietnam raced against the clock on Sunday in search for a dozen men, after a series of landslides overwhelmed an army camp.

Heavy rain has pounded over central Vietnam for more than a week, resulting in floods and landslides that have killed at least 64 people, according to the country's disaster management authority.

"From 2 a.m. until now, there have been four to five landslides, exploding like bombs, and it feels like the whole mountain is about to collapse," local official Ha Ngoc Duong said, as reported by Vietnamese newspaper VnExpress, warning that the situation could worsen.

The bodies of some 22 soldiers from the army camp were recovered early on Sunday morning, according to local media reports. Ongoing rain has hampered rescue efforts. Days before,13 rescue team members died trying to reach a group of 30 employees of a hydropower plant that had been buried by the landslides.

Widespread damage

Authorities have warned that river levels in had reached their highest in two decades, state media said.

The disaster management authority raised its risk alert warning to the second highest level on Sunday, warning of further flooding and landslides. Torrential downpours have flooded nearly 200,000 houses and 300 schools in the region.

Since storms began on October 6, some 72 people have died and a further 19 still missing, Vietnam's Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said in a report.

Though Vietnam is prone to natural disasters and regularly suffers more than a dozen storms each year, which often bring flooding and landslides, this month's disaster has been the worst the country has faced in years.

Neighboring Cambodia has also been affected by heavy flooding in the region. The death toll there jumped to 20 on Saturday, according to disaster management authorities.

jcg/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)