After lashing Philippines, tropical storm Saudel heads for Vietnam

FILE PHOTO: People sit in a truck amid floodwater after heavy rain caused a dyke breach in Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand October 20, 2020 in this still image obtained from social media video. Hook31_Thailand via REUTERS

MANILA (Reuters) - Tropical storm Saudel has lashed the Philippines causing flooding and thousands of residents to evacuate, officials said on Wednesday, with the storm now heading for Vietnam where more than 100 people have died in weeks of bad weather.

The region has suffered particularly heavy rainfall amid the onset of a La Niña weather system, which is characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

In Quezon province, southeast of the Philippines capital Manila, photographs showed widespread flooding and boats used to ferry residents to dry ground.

"The rainfall coincided with La Niña and the high tide. That is a big problem," Quezon governor Danilo Suarez told CNN Philippines.

A waist-deep flood had made the main road in Quezon province impassable for vehicles, Suarez said.

Nearly 6,000 people were evacuated in provinces south of Manila as of Tuesday night, disaster agency data showed, though there have been no reports of casualties.

Bad weather in some areas northeast of Manila had started to clear, with floods receding, Elson Egargue, a disaster official in Aurora province told DZMM radio station.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands and 107 million people, is battered by roughly 20 tropical storms annually, with Saudel being the 16th this year.

Vietnam is now in the firing line and expects Saudel to hit the country at full strength when it reaches the Paracels Islands in the South China Sea, the country's disaster agency said, adding the death toll from weeks-long floods and landslides had risen to 111, with 22 still missing.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico dela Cruz in Manila, and Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Ed Davies & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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