At least 16 people have died, one has gone missing and thousands have had to be evacuated in Vietnam as a result of floods swamping the country's central region, the state news service said Saturday.

Seven of the deaths occurred in Quang Ngai province, five in Binh Dinh, two in Gia Lai and one in the provinces of Quang Nam and Phu Yen, according to a report by the national emergency management service cited in the daily Vietnam News.

The torrential rains brought on by Tropical Storm Zoraida and the cresting of rivers up to 3 meters (almost 10 feet) have left large areas of the region's provinces underwater, including the city of Quy Nhon in the province of Binh Dinh, which has been left isolated, according to the online news site Tuoi Tre.

The Ba River reached its highest level since 1981 in Gia Lai, where two schoolteachers died after being swept away by floodwaters.

Authorities attributed the deaths to unexpected floods in the region, where the preventive evacuation of 20,000 people was ordered.

The rising waters also cut off expressways, while mudslides caused by the downpours have blocked the railroad line.

The flooding came a week after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the northern part of the country, leaving 14 dead and 81 injured, according to the online news. EFE