At least 19 people have died and a dozen are missing after Typhoon Damrey barrelled into Vietnam, authorities said Sunday, just days before the country welcomes world leaders to the APEC summit.
The storm made landfall on Saturday and is the worst to hit the southern coastal region – an area normally spared typhoons which are usually hit further north – in decades.
Heavy rains inundated communities with floods as 130 km/h (80 mph) winds blew off roofs and knocked down electricity poles, according to Vietnam’s search and rescue office.
Coastal Khanh Hoa province, home to the popular white sand Nha Trang beach, was hardest hit with 14 dead and 10 injured, the government said.
More than 30,000 people, including foreign tourists, were evacuated from the area ahead of the storm.
A dozen flights were also cancelled while railway services were suspended, while local authorities in Phu Yen province said Tuy Hoa city “has never suffered such devastation”.
There were also reports of minor damage around 500 kilometres north in Danang, the coastal city where Vietnam will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next week.
The week-long gathering, which kicks off Monday, will bring together leaders including US President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping.
Vietnam has been pummelled by a dozen major storms since the start of 2017, with at least 240 people reported dead or missing in floods and landslides.
In September some 80 were killed after Typhoon Doksuri battered central provinces with rain, destroying thousands of homes and triggering severe floods.
The World Bank said natural disasters have killed more than 13,000 people and caused more than $6.4 billion in property damage to Vietnam over the past two decades.