Widespread typhoon damage in Vietnam

Ha Tinh, Vietnam - Shaken residents in central Vietnam were piecing their homes and businesses back together Saturday after a powerful typhoon hammered large swathes of coast and killed at least four people.

Typhoon Doksuri tore through Vietnam on Friday afternoon, reducing structures to piles of debris and knocking out electricity and telecommunications in several provinces, in one of the worst storms to hit the country in years.

Residents woke up Saturday to the widespread destruction in normally idyllic coastal communities popular among beach goers.

"I sat inside my house covering my ears, I didn't dare leave as I was so scared," Mai Thi Tinh, whose restaurant in Ha Tinh province was completely destroyed, told AFP.

"The power is still off so we can't do anything. I don't know how long it will take to recover," she told AFP.

At least four people were killed and eight injured, according to Vietnam's Disaster Management Authority.

Some 123 000 homes were damaged and trees and power lines were torn down in five hard-hit provinces, the disaster agency said.

"The wind was so bad that I hid under the bed. I'm old but I'm afraid of death," 70-year-old retired teacher Tran Ngoc Khang told AFP in Ha Tinh.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited the hard-hit province on Saturday to survey the damage.

"We have to quickly mobilise forces to repair houses and damaged schools... We have to ensure people can get back to normal life," he said on state-run Vietnam Television.

Nearly 80 000 people were evacuated as the storm bore down while the government deployed a quarter of a million troops and a fleet of vehicles and ships.

Vietnam's central coast is routinely lashed by storms, especially during tropical storm season from May to October.

It has already been hit by severe weather this year, with 140 people dead or missing in natural disasters since January, according to official figures.

Forecasters warned of a risk of flooding and landslides as the storm swept through central and northern Vietnam, bringing with it heavy rains.

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