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At least 37 dead, thousands flee amid major floods in Vietnam

At least 37 dead, thousands flee amid major floods in Vietnam

Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Nearly 40 people have been killed in Vietnam and thousands have fled from their homes, after days of heavy rains triggered major flooding and deadly landslides.

The intense rains, caused by a tropical depression, have led to the highest flooding death toll in Vietnamese history, officials said.

Several of the dead were killed in various Vietnamese districts -- including eight in Da Bac, six in Tan Lac, two in Kim Boi, and one in Mai Chau.

At least 37 people were listed dead by mid-Tuesday.

Authorities said the severe weather conditions prompted the evacuations of 17,000 homes, and more than 200 have collapsed. Nearly 18,000 other houses were either submerged or damaged. The flooding has also damaged acres of rice land and has killed nearly 40,000 animals.

"Our entire village had sleepless nights ... it's impossible to fight against this water, it's the strongest in years," a resident in Hoa Binh province said. The province declared a state of emergency, opening eight gates to discharge water at Vietnam's largest hydroelectric dam.

The Southeast Asian country often deals with destructive storms and flooding along its 2,000-mile coastline. Last year, 200 people were killed in severe weather conditions. Officials said rising sea levels may also threaten Vietnam, resulting in increased flooding, erosion and saltwater intrusion.