| GEO World|
Vietnam floods kill 41, survivors 'destitute'
| Updated at: 1151 PST, Tuesday, October 19, 2010|
HANOI: Flooding in central Vietnam has killed 41 people and left survivors destitute, officials said Tuesday, as relatives of at least 15 missing bus passengers watched rescuers scour a river for their loved ones.
The heavy rains that began late last week have washed over three provinces: Nghe An, Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh. In Ha Tinh police said a bus had disappeared in the flood waters on the main north-south highway on Monday.
State television said hundreds of soldiers using boats and metal detectors had been mobilised to search for the bus passengers.
"This morning we used army engineers and their special boats, for detecting bombs and mines, to try to locate the bus that was swept away by the water. But it has been in vain until now," Lieutenant General Pham Quoc Cuong said on state television.
Police and local residents also joined the search, which was hampered by strong currents, Tran Van Long, deputy head of Nghi Xuan district police, told media.
"We think the bus carried between 33 and 37 people. Eighteen people have been rescued," Long said. "We haven't been able to locate the bus as the water has been so strong."
He said about 50 relatives of the missing were at the scene beside the swollen Lam River, near Vinh city, where rain had stopped and the waters were gradually receding.