Typhoon Noru makes landfall in north Vietnam

Rider after the storm: A man riding a motorbike through a flooded street after Typhoon Noru made landfall in Hoi An city, Quang Nam province. — AFP

TYPHOON Noru tore roofs from homes and caused power outages across central Vietnam, with hundreds of thousands of people taking refuge after the storm claimed at least 10 lives in the Philippines.

In Danang, Vietnam’s third-largest city, high-rise buildings shook as the typhoon made landfall in the early hours yesterday, bringing winds of up to around 120kph, according to the national forecaster.

More than 300,000 people in Vietnam hunkered down in shelters overnight, after forecasters predicted the storm would be one of the biggest to ever hit the country.

Wind speeds were lower than initially feared, but forecasters said heavy rain would continue into the day and warned of landslides and serious flooding.

The defence ministry has mobilised around 40,000 soldiers and 200,000 militia members, equipped with armoured vehicles and boats in preparation for rescue and relief operations, state media said.

In the popular tourist city of Hoi An, the Hoai River was close to bursting its banks, while the ground was littered with metal roof sheeting and fallen trees which had damaged cars and blocked roads.

“The typhoon was terrible last night. I could not sleep as the wind was so strong and loud,” resident Nguyen Thi Hien said.

Around 300 houses in the coastal province of Quang Tri had their roofs blown off late on Tuesday as the wind began picking up speed.

“I heard the sound of fallen trees and signboards outside. I was scared.

“But we were prepared so the losses were not that bad.”

Residents rushed to clean up the debris early yesterday, with some shops already open and tourists walking the streets.

Almost half of Vietnam’s airports have been closed since Tuesday, with schools and offices across several central provinces also shut, while Danang banned the public from going out on the streets.

The central section of the highway linking Hanoi in the north with commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City in the south was closed. — AFP

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