Rains trigger floods and landslides in Vietnam, 18 missing


HANOI (Reuters) - Heavy rains that triggered floods and landslides in central Vietnam have left at least 18 people missing, some feared dead, with houses destroyed and roads damaged, authorities said on Thursday.

The rains have subsided, however, and efforts were underway to locate those missing, the government said in a statement. Some national highways, inter-provincial and local roads were partially blocked, it said.

Images on news websites and social media in recent days showed fast-flowing, mud-brown water, people in boats on flooded roads or wading through waist-high water, some pushing stalled motorcycles.

Beach towns Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Vietnam's main coffee growing province, Dak Lak were hardest hit.

The floods have inundated 780 hectares (7.8 square kilometres) of rice fields, although no damage has been reported so far to coffee farms.

Vietnam is prone to storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Natural disasters - predominantly floods and landslides from storms - killed 378 people last year.

The National Meteorology Centre has said there was a low chance Vietnam's flood-prone areas including coastal and northern provinces would see heavy rainfalls and floods late this year.

(Editing by Martin Petty)

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