Death toll from central Vietnam flooding rises to 31

Ho Chi Minh City, Nov 18 (EFE).- Vietnamese authorities on Monday raised to 31 the death toll from floods swamping the nation's central region, where there are also three people missing, the state press said.

Most of the fatalities occurred in the provinces of Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai with 13 each, while two were in Quang Nam and the rest in the provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Phu Yen, the national emergency management office told the Tuoi Tre newspaper.

Authorities attributed the deaths to the floods, despite having ordered the evacuation of some 20,000 people as a preventive measure.

Another three Vietnamese have gone missing in the provinces of Quang Nam and Gia Lai.

The torrential rains of Tropical Storm Zoraida have raised river levels by as much as 3 meters (10 feet) and have submerged large areas of Vietnam's central provinces, as well as causing mudslides that have blocked highways and the railroad line.

Some 98,000 homes are flooded in Binh Dinh, where the National Meteorological Forecast Center says that rivers will crest to their highest level Monday around midnight.

The current of the Ba River reached its highest level since 1981 in Gia Lai, where two schoolteachers died when they were swept away by a flood.

In some parts of the town of Hoian, one of Vietnam's biggest tourist attractions, the floodwaters have reached a depth of 1.5 meters (5 feet).

This catastrophe comes a week after Typhoon Haiyan left 14 dead and 81 injured as it blasted through northern Vietnam.