Powerful storm kills at least 30 in Philippines, Vietnam

Story highlights

  • More than a thousand rescue workers have been deployed in Vietnam
  • Helicopters are on standby to search for an oil rig adrift from its towboats
  • Tropical Storm Son-Tinh had already killed at least 27 people in the Philippines

As Hurricane Sandy lashes the East Coast of the United States with wind and rain, Southeast Asia is dealing with the trail of death and damage from a powerful storm that has killed at least 30 people in the region over the past few days.

Superstorm Sandy threatens 'catastrophe' of a lifetime

Tropical Storm Son-Tinh was moving northeast along the northern Vietnamese coast on Monday after tearing the roofs off hundreds of houses and breaching flood defenses overnight, the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

Son-Tinh was at typhoon level when it thumped into northern Vietnam late Sunday with winds as strong as 133 kilometers per hour (83 mph). It left three people dead and two injured, according to an initial estimate from the Office of the National Search and Rescue Committee reported by (VNA).

More than a 1,300 rescue workers and soldiers have been deployed to work with local authorities on search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of the storm, VNA said.

Helicopters were on standby for a search and rescue mission for an oil rig with 35 people on board that became disconnected from its towboats miles out at sea amid strong waves generated by the storm, according to VNA.

And five people were missing Sunday after winds from Son-Tinh sank an engineering vessel near a cargo terminal in Sanya, a city on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Son-Tinh is expected to gradually weaken over the course of Monday, regional weather agencies said. At least 260,000 people in Vietnam had been relocated to safer areas as it approached Sunday.

The storm had already killed 27 people when it swept across the central Philippines during the second half of last week, causing flash floods and landslides, according to the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Nine people remain missing, the council said Monday.

East Asia is buffeted for several months a year by heavy storms that roll in from the western Pacific Ocean. In August, a big typhoon, named Bolaven, killed more than 60 people on the Korean peninsula.

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