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Viet Nam braces for Typhoon Rammasun

Update: July, 18/2014 - 09:43

HA NOI (VNS) — Agencies and localities from the north-eastern province of Quang Ninh to the central province of Quang Binh are bracing for Typhoon Rammasun, which is forecast to make landfall in Hai Phong and Quang Ninh on Saturday.

The move followed an order of Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai at an online meeting held yesterday morning to urge the localities to suspend all activities and focus on preparing for the typhoon.

All vessels had been banned from going offshore since yesterday, Hai said.

In Quang Ninh Province, a report from the provincial Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention, Search and Rescue said that 222 out of a total 229 offshore fishing vessels had received notice about the storm's development as of yesterday afternoon.

Provincial authorities were evacuating 31 households in a fishing village near Ha Long City, the report said.

Secretary of the Co To Island District's Party Committee Nguyen Van Thanh said that 300 tourists were called ashore yesterday.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, Dang Duy Hau, ordered all cruise ships to suspend visits or overnight stays in Ha Long Bay from yesterday afternoon until the storm passed.

Local rescue teams had been instructed to prepare for emergencies, he said.

In Quang Nam Province, local authorities yesterday asked 139 offshore fishing vessels near the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago to quickly find safe shelter to avoid the storm.

In Nam Dinh Province, an urgent message from chairman of the provincial People's Committee, Doan Hong Phong, was sent out banning all vessels from going offshore as of 1pm yesterday.

All 1,942 local fishing vessels have been informed of the danger.

Authorities have also been helping local people to reinforce houses and dykes before the storm hits.

At the online meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Hai said that provinces stretching from Quang Ninh to Thanh Hoa were likely to be most affected by the storm.

Hai instructed localities to finish evacuating high-risk areas before 4pm today.

Hai also asked the National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control and the National Committee for Search and Rescue to establish two teams to supervise and help Hai Phong and Quang Ninh to cope with the storm.

The National Centre for Hydro – Meteorological Forecasting said that by 7pm yesterday, the eye of the storm was about 210km east of Hoang Sa (Paracel) with wind speeds reaching 149 km per hour.

The centre said the storm was moving west at 20-25 km per hour.

Rough seas with waves up to 6 metres and strong winds were forecast to hit territorial waters in the of Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf this afternoon, the centre warned.

Torrential rains triggered by the storm are predicted to blanket northern and central northern provinces from tonight.

It is expected to make landfall in the northern region by 7pm this Saturday.

Northern mountainous provinces, including Bac Can, Cao Bang, Lai Chau, Lang Son and Lao Cai, have been put on alert for flash floods and landslides.

Ha Noi and the delta provinces of Ha Nam, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Nam Dinh and Thai Binh are forecast to be inundated by torrential rains.

In a related move, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday sent a message to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue urgent diplomatic notes to neighbouring countries asking them to provide any endangered Vietnamese boats and their crews safe shelter if necessary.

The media had been broadcasting the latest developments of the storm to authorities and the public so they could take necessary precautions when it hit, he said.

Tropical Storm Rammasun is the second storm to hit the East Sea this year.

In Ha Noi, over 20 flights of Vietnam Airlines were cancelled or delayed yesterday.

Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh also held an emergency meeting with his officials to discuss strategic steps to cope with the storm.

All border patrols across coastal provinces from Quang Ninh to Khanh Hoa are on high alert, to warn and instruct 60,000 vessels and more than 200,000 fishermen at sea.

Minister Thanh instructed all units to be ready for deployment to rescue people and minimise loss of lives and damage to property.

In Ha Noi, the Trade Department announced it had already stockpiled food and goods to ensure support for at least 250,000 people in seven days in case of an emergency in the area. — VNS

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