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At least 51 dead, 10 missing in Vietnam floods

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HANOI, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - At least 51 people have died and 10 have been declared missing since the weekend in central Vietnam, following torrential rains and flooding, a local emergencies official said Thursday.

The floods have already destroyed about 60,000 homes in eight central provinces, leaving 70,000 hectares of arable land under water, crippling the country's transport system, and disabling power lines. About 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

Emergency and rescue services are continually receiving reports of casualties and damage, but communications have been almost entirely lost in some disaster-stricken residential areas.

Residents of the Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces, which have been hardest-hit by the tropical storms, and where floodwaters have reached up to three meters, say the inundation is the worst the regions have seen in half a century.

On Wednesday Vietnamese Railways announced that all rail transit in the country would be suspended until further notice.

National authorities estimate financial damage so far at tens of millions of U.S. dollars.

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