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Thousands Are Homeless After Typhoon Linda Sweeps Through Southern Vietnam, Leaves At Least

November 4, 1997

Thousands Are Homeless After Typhoon Linda Sweeps Through Southern Vietnam, Leaves At Least 94 Dead, 2,400 People MissingBy IAN STEWART

CA MAU, Vietnam (AP) _ Typhoon Linda swept across the top of southern Vietnam on Monday, pummeling the coast and killing nearly 100 people in the most devastating storm to hit the country in decades.

Roaring through with gusts of more than 80 mph, Linda left a trail of destruction through four provinces, leaving thousands of people homeless or missing, officials said Tuesday.

Ninety-four people were killed and about 2,400 people were missing, provincial officials said. About 1,380 small fishing boats sank while hundreds of others were unaccounted for.

Damage also was extensive. In Kien Giang province, damage was estimated at $60 million. In the town of Bac Lieu, roughly 11,000 homes were destroyed. Most were fragile and no match for powerful winds.

Officials also said that most schools in the region hit by the typhoon were either damaged or completely destroyed, as were many medical clinics.

As many as 13,000 clapboard and mud homes were flattened or heavily damaged by powerful winds in Ca Mau province alone, about 200 miles south of Ho Chi Minh City, a federal official told The Associated Press.

``This is the biggest storm to hit this area in nearly 100 years,″ said Nguyen Tat Hoan, a senior official from the Flood and Storm Control Department in the northern capital of Hanoi.

Villages along Ca Mau’s coastline were swamped by floodwaters and power lines were cut, said local authorities in the provincial capital.

Deputy Premier Trinh Minh Thanh left Hanoi, and was heading south late Monday to the Mekong Delta area to assess damage.

The typhoon then headed toward southern Thailand, where the government warned of the possibility of flash floods.

Earlier Monday, the typhoon skirted offshore gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand operated by Unocal but did not cause any damage, the El Segundo, Calif.-based oil company announced.

Unocal has evacuated more than 700 people from its offshore facilities since Saturday, and suspended production at its Platong gas field Monday morning. It hoped to resume operations in the area Tuesday.

Another storm, Typhoon Keith, lashed the Northern Mariana Islands on Sunday, but authorities reported no injuries in the Western Pacific island chain that is 3,300 miles west of Hawaii.

Keith packed winds of up to 220 mph when it passed between the islands of Rota and Tinian. On Rota, high winds ripped off the tin roofs of government buildings and houses, leaving 13 families homeless, said Brenda Sungao of the mayor’s office.

In the northern part of the Cook Islands, at least three people were killed and 20 were missing after a separate cyclone struck low-lying atolls Saturday, authorities said. The South Pacific nation lies 2,000 miles northeast of New Zealand.

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