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More than 150 Die in Vietnam Floods


More than 150 people, mostly children, have been killed in severe flooding in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta. The government has reopened hundreds of kindergartens to try to give safe haven to children under threat.

The waters continued to rise Tuesday as relief workers struggled to provide sanitary conditions for the more than 500,000 people left homeless by late season floods.

The floods have caused more than $32 million in damage to homes and infrastructure. But it is the human toll, particularly among Vietnam's children, that remains the key concern.

Of the 159 people killed in the floods this year, an incredible 137 of them have been children who fell into the water while their parents left to look for food or work. On Tuesday, the government announced that it had opened more than 500 kindergartens to give children a supervised safe haven.

The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has launched an appeal for funds to buy food and medical supplies. It estimates that at least 200,000 children are in dire need of clean drinking water, food and health care.

The United States pledged $25,000 to the disaster relief effort on Tuesday. China, Spain and Belarus have also offered aid to the Vietnamese Red Cross.

This is the second year in a row of devastating floods in Vietnam. More than 400 people died in last year's floods.

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