A hippopotamus from Shantou Zoo swims in a nearby river after the zoo became submerged by flood waters from Typhoon Usagi, allowing the hippopotamus to swim across the zoo's boundary fence, 23 September 2013. Photo: ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

HANOI, 24 September  2013 (AFP) – Heavy monsoon rains exacerbated by Typhoon Usagi have pounded parts of Vietnam and Cambodia killing at least 36 people, authorities said Tuesday, with many swept to their deaths in floods.

Despite not being directly hit by Usagi — the world’s most powerful storm this year — parts of Southeast Asia have seen a worsening of their annual rainy season as the typhoon barrelled through the Philippines and China in recent days.

Central and southern Vietnam have been hit by bad weather since early last week, inundating fields and villages, with 24 dead and six missing, according to a 10-day update from the country’s flood and storm control department.

In Cambodia, officials said low pressure from the typhoon caused heavy rains, swelling the Mekong river with floods sweeping across several provinces.

At least 12 people, including six children under six years old, have died in the deluge, said Keo Vy of the National Disaster Management Committee.

Typhoon Usagi killed at least two people in the Philippines and some 25 people in southern China as it swept across the region over the weekend.

Strong winds and torrential rain lashed the Chinese coast after making landfall in Guangdong province northeast of Hong Kong on Sunday evening.

As the typhoon bore down on Hong Kong, operators shut down one of the world’s busiest sea ports and nearly 450 flights were either cancelled or delayed on Sunday.

At least 18 further deaths have been reported in the Philippines in monsoon rains worsened by the typhoon, which also unleashed landslides and power outages across southern Taiwan at the weekend as it ploughed through the Luzon Strait with ferocious winds and heavy downpours.

Some 7,000 houses were inundated and more than 5,000 hectares of crops have been damaged in Vietnam, officials said, although much of the water has since receded.

Early this month, the communist country reported 21 deaths as flash floods and landslides ravaged northern mountainous areas.

Last year, more than 260 people were killed in floods in Vietnam.

Heavy rains spawned by Typhoon Usagi kill 36 in Vietnam, Cambodia


Two Buddha statues appear with their heads hung low on Tuesday, after Typhoon Usagi ravaged through Lufeng, Guangdong Province, on 23 September 2013. Photo: swsm.net

25 September 2013 (Swsm.net-Global Times) – Two Buddha statues in Lufeng, Guangdong Province are looking quite "depressed" after winds from typhoon Usagi swept through the city and left their heads drooping, swsm.net reported Tuesday.

Situated outside Guangfu Temple, the necks of both Buddha statues - valued at 50 million yuan ($8 million) - cracked as winds reaching speeds of nearly 120 kilometers per hour ripped through southeastern China. Typhoon Usagi created major landslides, causing the statues' heads to appear lowered in prayer.

Net users joked the pair of Buddha statues had their heads lowered in shame for having failed to protect residents from the typhoon that has claimed at least 29 lives since Saturday, while others said that the figures were offering solemn blessings to victims.

But some said the statues were just disappointed in the quality of their craftsmanship.

Master Hengyu, deputy head of Cangzhou Buddhist Association in Hebei Province, however, dismissed the online speculations, saying that the cause of the statues' drooping heads were due to a combination of poor welding and the powerful typhoon.

He admitted that the statues' poor condition has hurt the sacred image of Buddha in the minds of Buddhists.

Typhoon Usagi leaves Buddha statues in South China ‘looking a bit bummed’

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