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Nov 8, 6:18 AM EST

Troops, residents of Vietnam's Hoi An clean up from floods


AP Photo
AP Photo/Tran Van Minh

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HOI AN, Vietnam (AP) -- The scenic Vietnamese city of Hoi An rushed to dig itself out of mud and debris Wednesday after major flooding just days ahead of a regional summit in the nearby city of Danang.

The spouses of several Asia-Pacific leaders are due to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site during the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. About 1,000 soldiers were out in ankle deep mud helping to remove trash and water and clearing rubbish from the city's river.

Floodwaters have mostly receded despite persisting heavy rains.

The city, a 30-minute drive from where the pre-summit meetings are being held, suffered its worst flooding in nearly 20 years over the weekend as Typhoon Damrey hammered the area.

It already is regaining its festive air, with colorful lanterns hanging along its picturesque streets.

Residents said they suffered losses as the river's level surged after dams upstream discharged water. But those busy cleaning up were eager to have the city ready for their high-profile visitors.

"The natural disaster is over and now it's our job to clean up and to welcome APEC delegates," said tailor Nguyen Van Xe as he cleaned up damaged clothing and mannequins.

Souvenir shop owner Tran Van Dung was washing out a refrigerator covered in mud. "We are trying to clean up things to be ready to welcome the spouses," he said. "It's not that easy to have a chance to meet them."

Hoi An's beautiful old houses and shops appeared to be mostly undamaged and no casualties were reported in the city of 120,000. But in surrounding Quang Nam province, 10 people died and another 10 were reported missing.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are among the leaders who will attend the two-day summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum over the weekend. The U.S first lady, Melania Trump, was to return to the U.S. after visiting Beijing and was not expected to join her husband during his visit to Vietnam.

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