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At least 37 people have died and another 40 are missing as floods and landslides ravage north and central Vietnam, destroying homes and leaving rescuers scrambling to find survivors, disaster officials said Thursday.

Tens of thousands were evacuated after heavy rains lashed swathes of the country this week, as forecasters warned of more bad weather to come.Northern Hoa Binh is the hardest hit with 11 dead and 21 missing, prompting a state of emergency to be declared.

“We are mobilising all forces to search for the missing,” a disaster official told AFP by phone, declining to be named.Rescue efforts were hampered as water and mud submerged roads in several areas, including in Hoa Binh where eight died in an overnight landslide.

“People should be evacuated from dangerous areas, the safety of people and their belongings must be ensured,” deputy prime minister Trinh Dinh Dung said on state-run Vietnam television.

A terrified resident described severe flooding in another part of the province.

“The flash flood was terrible. Water poured down from the hill, like a surge three metres high. Traffic has been blocked because of the floods,” Phan Ba Dien told state-controlled VNExpress news site.

A journalist from Vietnam News Agency reporting on the storm was swept away along with four other people as an overflowing river demolished a bridge in northern Yen Bai province Wednesday.

One survived and authorities were still looking for the other four on Thursday.



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