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Floods Claim 20 Lives in Vietnam

October 23, 1998

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Flooding has killed 20 people and caused extensive damage in central Vietnam, officials said Friday.

Downpours with 12 to 20 inches of rain over the past three days have raised water levels in most rivers and submerged large tracts of land.

The Binh Dinh provincial floods and storm control committee said flooding had claimed eight lives there, while Khanh Hoa and Quang Ngai provinces each reported six deaths,

There was no estimate of damage in one of Vietnam’s poorest regions, which was one of the areas hit hardest earlier this year by the country’s worst droughts in at least a half-century.

The Southern Weather Forecast Center based in Ho Chi Minh City is predicting more drought next year in the Mekong Delta, the country’s rice basket.

It said the water level in the Mekong River is about three feet lower than the average. Low river levels in the Mekong allowed saltwater to encroach on rice paddies earlier this year.

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