Floods kill 21 people in Vietnam, next storm due soon

October 16, 2016 9:58 AM EDT

A man paddles a boat near his submerged house during a flood in Vietnam's central Ha Tinh province, October 15, 2016. Mandatory credit VNA/Tuan Anh/via REUTERS

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HANOI (Reuters) - At least 21 people have been killed by floods in Vietnam's four central provinces in the past week and eight are still missing, the government said on Sunday amid preparations for another tropical storm to hit the country.

Fifteen of the victims were in Quang Binh province, the region expected to be hit by typhoon Sarika by Wednesday, it said.

"We need to focus on searching for the missing," Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung told a meeting on preparations for the typhoon, according to a Vietnam Television (VTV) broadcast.

Dung urged authorities in 22 coastal provinces to reinforce key infrastructure projects and prepare evacuation plans, and assured them the government would provide food relief in flooded areas.

State-run VTV warned viewers that many reservoirs were nearly full now and could burst at any time. It showed footage of people stranded on the roofs of their homes.

Around 500,000 people have been displaced and more than 100,000 houses submerged and damaged by floods, according to a government report.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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