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Typhoon Lingling Causes Heavy Damage in Vietnam - 2001-11-12

At least nine people were killed in central Vietnam as typhoon Lingling hit central Vietnam Monday. Thousands of homes were destroyed by the storm, which last week left hundreds dead in the Philippines.

The strongest storm to hit central Vietnam in 15 years barreled into Phu Yen province early Monday morning, downing power lines and telephone cables and virtually cutting off the area.

Wind gusts of up to 118 kilometers per hour were recorded. The storm destroyed 90 percent of the province's fishing fleet.

Thousands of homes collapsed and more lost their roofs. Initial damage estimates were $2 million, and the death toll looked likely to rise.

Typhoon Lingling last week cut a swath of destruction across the Philippines, killing at least 270 people in mudslides and floods.

The storm is weakening as it moves inland over Vietnam, but officials are still worried about flash floods. Weather officials said Lingling dumped nearly 200 millimeters of rain in the area.

Vietnam is already reeling from a heavy flood season in the south, where more than 350 people have died in flooding in the Mekong River delta. Another storm caught central Vietnam by surprise three weeks ago, killing at least 50 people.