HANOI, Vietnam -- A powerful typhoon that rocked Vietnam has killed at least 44 people, left more than a dozen missing and caused extensive damage to the country's south-central region ahead of a summit that will draw leaders from around the world, the government said Monday.
The Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said in a statement that widespread flooding was reported in the region and more than 116,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. In addition to the dead, 19 people are missing, including nine crew members of cargo ships that sank off the coast of Khanh Hoa province.
Nearly 230 cargo and fishing ships and boats sank, more than 1,000 houses, destroyed, mainly in central Khanh Hoa province, damaged or ripped roofs of over 43,000 others, and caused blackout in many central and central highlands provinces.
Typhoon Damrey hit Saturday and had already dissipated, but the disaster agency said flooding may get worse as heavy rain was forecast for the region. The area hit includes Danang, which is hosting an economic summit on November 6 to 11 that will be attended by US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders.
Many of the banners and posters for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Danang were damaged, but were fixed by Monday. There was only light rainfall in the city on Monday.
A half-hour drive away in the ancient town of Hoi An, where spouses of the Apec leaders were scheduled to visit, residents said they were suffering from the worst floods in decades.
"Our family of six members has to live on the second floor, where we had to move all our belongings," said Nguyen Thi Hong, 70, who has been selling silk products in the town for the past 30 years. "Life was very difficult because there was no electricity and we have to use boats to get around."
Shops in Hoi An, a Unesco world heritage site popular with tourists, were closed and boats were the only means of transportation in many flooded parts of the town.
"We're facing a major threat in all the affected areas, all the lakes and rivers are full," Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said at an emergency meeting on Sunday, according to state-controlled VNExpress.
He said flood levels were close to surpassing records set in 1997.
Restaurants and hotels in Hoi An were inundated with water and tourists were evacuated from hotels on boats.
"It's reached places in Hoi An that it hasn't reached in years," Peter Kahl, 53, a restaurant owner in Hoi An, said.
There has been no word yet on whether the visit of the spouses of world leaders will go ahead.
"If anyone from Apec comes to see (Hoi An) and sees the condition it's in at the moment -- it's dreadful," Hoi An resident Andrew Lambie said, as a river snake swam past his home.
Danang was mostly spared from the storm's destruction, with reports of heavy rain and high winds but no major flooding.
Vietnam has been battered by a series of storms this year. Flooding and landslides in northern and central regions killed more than 70 people last month.
In September, Typhoon Doksuri tore through central Vietnam, killing 11 people and decimating communities across several provinces.
The country has reported at least 240 people dead or missing in floods and landslides since the beginning of the year.
Natural disasters have killed more than 13,000 people and caused more than $6.4 billion in property damage over the past 20 years in Vietnam, according to the World Bank. (AP/AFP/PNA/Xinhua)