Vietnam braces for Noru


Safety in numbers: A border guard vessel patrolling a port before Typhoon Noru arrives in Danang. — AFP

VIETNAM urged more people to seek shelter as an intensifying Typhoon Noru barrelled towards the South-East Asian nation, after causing at least eight deaths and widespread flooding in the Philippines.

Wind speeds were seen reaching 183kph yesterday, the country’s meteorological agency said, adding that Noru was expected to make landfall in Vietnam today before weakening and moving on to Thailand.

The typhoon forced airports in Vietnam to close, causing travel disruption, while thousands were forced to evacuate their homes, according to official statements.

Wind speeds reached 134-183kph early yesterday, the meteorological agency said.

“We don’t have much time left. The storm is intensifying so our responses must be stronger and faster,” Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said at an emergency disaster response meeting yesterday.

“Evacuation must been done as soon as possible with top priorities being people’s lives and assets.”

Vietnam’s aviation authority closed nine airports across the country from yesterday, forcing hundreds of domestic and international flights to be cancelled.

Around 270,000 military personnel have been placed on standby, the government said in a statement.

The hardest-hit areas were expected to be central provinces Quang Ngai, home to the Dung Quat oil refinery, and Quang Nam, home to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, said the meteorological agency.

Quang Nam province evacuated more than 133,000 residents, the government said in a statement, while footage from state media VTV showed people fortifying their homes with bricks and sandbags.

Authorities were racing to secure the country’s coffee growing areas north of the Central Highlands region.

In the Philippines, where the category 3 storm made landfall on Sunday night, authorities said at least eight people had died, about 74,000 were sheltering in evacuation centres, and many more were left without electricity.

Footage from a local broadcaster showed police personnel cutting up fallen trees that were blocking roads in Quezon province, and residents sorting through debris with their hands. Aid workers distributed relief goods and food in coastal communities, according to footage broadcast on DZRH’s Youtube channel. — Reuters

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