Receding floodwaters in Vietnam have killed dozens of people, the government reported Wednesday, raising the death toll to 82 as a violent typhoon threatened to bear down this weekend.

Disaster officials said the victims likely drowned while trying to cross the floodwaters, or possibly while swimming in search of wood.

The latest in a series of violent stormsbrought floodwaters that killed at least 82 people in nine provinces, provincial disaster management committeestold the Reuters news agency.

The storms havebattered Vietnam since early Octoberkilling nearly 200 in total and causing an estimated $300 million in damage, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, thousands of survivors in the flood-devastated central district were scrambling to repair damage to their homes before Typhoon Peipah hits, expectedthis weekend.

The storm, which the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre says packs winds of 138 kilometres an hour, has already reportedly killed five people in the Philippines and left about 500 homeless there.

Adding to the safety concerns in Vietnam were fears that avian flu could be more easily spread through the floodwaters.

Tests on Wednesday confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in Ha Nam province, about 60 kilometres south of the capital, Hanoi. Five provinces have now confirmed bird flu in poultry since October.

No human infections have been reported since the virus killed a15-year-old boy in August.

With files from the Associated Press