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Vietnam says natural disasters killed 192, caused $1.3B in damages over 2 months

People clean up the street after typhoon Vamco passed, in Quang Binh, Vietnam, 15 November 2020. Typhoon Vamco made landfall in the country's central coast on 15 November 2020. EPA/STR

Natural disasters in the past two months caused Vietnam 30 trillion dong ($1.3 billion) in economic damage and killed 192 people, with 57 still missing, authorities said on Wednesday, with its central provinces bearing most of the losses.

Vietnam’s central region has had a tough year, with its important tourism industry crippled by the coronavirus pandemic long before the arrival of nine typhoons that wiped out crops and damaged homes of hundreds of thousands people.

Read more: 2nd typhoon to hit Philippines this month kills at least 39, strands thousands

The two-month toll surpassed losses for the whole of last year, when disasters killed 132 people and caused 6.2 trillion in damage, official data showed.

“We embraced nine typhoons and two tropical depressions in just two months, from mid-September to mid-November. Those abnormal weather events cost our country 30 trillion dong,” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong in a government statement.

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“We have to make sure our residents are not homeless, suffering from hunger or lacking fresh water post-typhoon,” Cuong added.

Click to play video 'Emergency responders work to rescue people impacted by typhoon Vamco in Philippines' Emergency responders work to rescue people impacted by typhoon Vamco in Philippines
Emergency responders work to rescue people impacted by typhoon Vamco in Philippines – Nov 14, 2020

Vietnam’s economic growth is expected to slow to 2%-3% this year after expanding 7.02% in 2019 due to the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.

About 11.8 million people in Vietnam’s costal provinces are exposed to the threat of intense flooding, with 35% of settlements located on crowded and eroding coastlines, a World Bank report said in October.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)