Red Cross says Vietnam flood victims need urgent aid

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HANOI, Oct 10 (Reuters) Relief agencies battled to provide food, medicine and clean water to Vietnamese villagers nearly a week after a typhoon triggered some of the worst flooding and landslides in decades.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Wednesday made a worldwide appeal for 2.7 million dollars in emergency money to help 193,000 people as a compilation of provincial reports showed 88 were killed and 11 still missing.

Red Cross officials said the money would help buy mosquito nets, blankets, kitchen sets, water and water containers, rice and building materials for victims of the disaster.

Food shortages and water-borne diseases were major concerns, officials said.

''We are calling on rice suppliers to sign another contract for delivering rice to the flood areas in one to two weeks,'' IFRC coordinator Thao Van Danh said in Hanoi.

Floods submerged nearly 31,000 hectares of rice in northern and central provinces, creating food shortages. Relief workers have been taking rice from state reserves to give to flood victims.

Typhoon Lekima struck central Vietnam on the night of Oct. 3. The storm and its aftermath caused property damage estimated at 2.73 trillion dong (nearly 170 million dollars).

Danh said the international relief effort was focused on seven worst-hit provinces -- Thanh Hoa, Ninh Binh, Son La and Hoa Binh in the north and central Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh.

The United States contributed 100,000 dollars as soon as it received the Vietnam government's appeal for international help, the US Embassy said in a statement.

At the weekend, meteorologists measured some rivers at their highest levels since the mid-1980s, bursting dykes and submerging entire villages in some districts of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An. At least one official in Thanh Hoa said flooding was the worst there since 1945.

Reuters SZ GC1347

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