Several killed as Typhoon Lekima lashes Vietnam

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HANOI, Oct 4 (Reuters) Typhoon Lekima lashed central Vietnam with torrential rains and high winds, killing several people and blowing roofs off houses, media reports said today.

The Thanh Nien (Young People) daily newspaper said on its Web site that five people were killed before and during Wednesday night's storm, but not all of the deaths had been confirmed.

Roofs were blown off and the power was cut in many villages as the storm swept in from the sea, but the full extent of the damage was not yet known, Voice of Vietnam radio said.

Meteorologists said the storm weakened after passing over the central province of Quang Binh and headed towards Laos. But the entire central section of the country and some northern areas were affected by the storm.

Authorities warned people in several central provinces of the risk of landslides and flash floods.

Vietnam faces up to 10 storms a year, causing millions of dollars in damage and sometimes killing hundreds of people a year. Lekima -- the Vietnamese name of a fruit -- is the fifth in 2007.

It killed five people in the Philippines at the weekend. The bad weather will not hurt coffee and rice crops or crude oil production, Vietnam's key export products, which all lie hundreds kilometres further to the south.

REUTERS SBA AS0618

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