Thousands evacuated as storm hits
CENTRAL REGION (VNS) — At least 260,000 people were evacuated yesterday as storm Son Tinh battered coastal districts from Ninh Binh to Thai Binh, with winds of up to 133km per hour (level 12) ripping hundreds of roofs from houses.
|Residents in Nga Son District in the central province of Thanh Hoa reinforce their house as Typhoon Son Tinh approaches. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Thuy
The storm, which is the eighth to hit Viet Nam this year, reportedly claimed the lives of three people in Quang Ngai Province as the Viet Nam News went to press last night, while damages are yet to be estimated.
According to the Central Hydro-Meteorology Centre, the storm struck close to the seashore of Thai Binh-Nam Dinh provinces by 7pm last night.
Heavy rains deluged Ha Tinh to Thua Thien Hue Province and the storm was predicted to hit the coastal area of the Northern Delta by this morning.
The Central Flood and Storm Control Steering Committee said last night that localities have started relocating hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the flood.
In Quang Binh, waves collapsed several parts of the dyke, causing up to VND30 billion worth damage. In Hai Phong, border police said they had managed to save 29 fishermen.
Local media quoted Le Xuan Thuy, director of Nam Dinh Department of Agriculture and Rural Agriculture, as saying that most of the province had lost electricity and the storm was the largest to strike the region since 2005.
The prospect of storms and tidal waves also caused the sea level to rise by 3-3.5m in the waters from Thai Binh to Thanh Hoa provinces.
Yesterday, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, Head of the Central Flood and Storm Control Steering Committee, visited northern Ninh Binh province to inspect preparations being made in the locality's coastal district of Kim Son.
He urged district and province authorities to double check their evacuation plans, especially for the elderly and children in vulnerable areas, as well as maintaining smooth communications to enable prompt deployment of search and rescue teams.
Dealing with the unpredictable nature of the storm, northern Quang Ninh province forbade sea activities as from 3pm on Saturday, causing 1,260 ships to drop anchor, including 160 off-shore fishing vessels. Provincial authorities were preparing to evacuate local people from dangerous areas.
While in the northern port city of Hai Phong, 3,270 people working on over 4,000 fishing boats and aquaculture breeding cages at sea were brought ashore.
The municipal authorities have issued evacuation instructions for more than 15,600 people in the coastal districts of Cat Hai and Do Son to negate the threat of coastal flooding and heavy rains.
In other provinces, including Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, fishing boats have been brought ashore and people living in low land areas have been evacuated to safe houses by yesterday.
As well as wreaking havoc at sea, the storm has also hampered air travel with national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines being forced to cancel 62 flights over the weekend. — VNS