By Mai Nguyen
DANANG, Vietnam (Reuters) – Vietnam released water from seven dangerously full reservoirs on Tuesday, just days before a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders and after a typhoon killed nearly 70 people.
The Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention said authorities were trying to avoid further flooding, particularly around the city of Danang, where the meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders is being held.
Typhoon Damrey, which struck on Saturday, was the 12th major storm of the year. The disaster prevention committee said 69 people had died as a result of the storm while 30 people were missing.
As much as 1,700 mm (67 inches) of rain was recorded at one weather station in the week to Monday.
Authorities were releasing water from seven reservoirs in line with a plan to limit flooding, the disaster committee said. Observers had been posted at major reservoirs to monitor water levels constantly.
Particular efforts were being made to avoid flooding around Danang because of the APEC meetings which began on Monday, it said.
U.S. President Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are among leaders set to join the main summit on Friday and Saturday.
The meeting schedule has not been disrupted by the rain, but there is a question mark over whether leaders’ spouses will be able to make a planned excursion to the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An on Saturday.
Waters in the streets rose to head height at the weekend although they had subsided somewhat by Tuesday.
Floods killed more than 80 people in northern Vietnam last month, while a typhoon wreaked havoc in central provinces in September. The country of more than 90 million people is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.
The storm hit a key coffee-growing region of the world’s biggest producer of robusta coffee beans near the start of the harvest. But farmers in Daklak, the heart of the region, said the damage was limited.
For a graphic on Typhoon Damrey’s devastating path, click – http://tmsnrt.rs/2yB7B29
(Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Nick Macfie)