SOUTH CENTRAL REGION — At least 20 people have died and 17 are missing as Typhoon Damrey, the 12th to emerge from the East Sea this year, made landfall Saturday morning in the south-central province of Khánh Hoà.
Located directly in the storm’s path, Khánh Hoà alone has reported 12 fatalities, while the coastal province of Bình Định and the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng have reported five and three deaths respectively, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.
It said the 17 people missing are all crew of shipwrecked cargo vessels.
In the swathe of destruction carved by Damrey, 531 houses collapsed completely and nearly 24,000 houses were damaged, with Khánh Hoà once again bearing the brunt with 15,838 houses affected by the heavy rain, strong gusts, and flooding.
Reports say that as many as 40 vessels – mostly off the coast of Phú Yên Province – have been sunk.
Rainfall of 100-200mm has been recorded in Quảng Nam and Khánh Hoà provinces and heavy downpours are predicted to continue even after the storm weakened into a tropical depression in the afternoon.
The forecasting centre has warned these localities of flash floods in mountainous areas and inundation in lowland areas.
In Khánh Hoà and Phú Yên, Damrey triggered a widespread blackout, hampering communication about storm consequences. However, by 5pm, the State-owned power utility, Việt Nam Electricity (EVN), said it had repaired and rendered operational all 220kV lines downed by the typhoon, and restored 50 per cent of 110kV stations and lines.
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng yesterday visited several localities in Khánh Hoà, inspecting damage caused by the storm and directed relief efforts. In coastal Vân Ninh District, he was told that the storm had claimed one life and left three injured, collapsed 14 houses and unroofed many others.
He urged Khánh Hoà leaders to provide prompt assistance for victims, including accommodation for those who need it, while ensuring the safety of dams and reservoirs, managing traffic and restoring the power network.
Earlier reports said flooding and landslides had completely isolated some areas in the south-central province of Bình Định.
The typhoon has also affected other provinces like Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Ninh Thuận, Đắk Lắk, and Đắk Nông, causing blackouts and flooding, devastating crops and disrupting traffic.
People in Đà Lạt City clear trees felled off by heavy rains and powerful winds of the typhoon Damrey. — VNA/VNS Photo Phước Ngọc
The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control reiterated its advise to affected provinces and cities to evacuate residents from vulnerable areas.
As of 2am, November 4, the provinces of Phú Yên, Khánh Hoà and Ninh Thuận had moved over 35,100 people to safer places.
More than 1,700 people in coastal Cần Giờ District of HCM City had also been evacuated.
Heavy rains and high tides have inundated a number of areas in HCM City, with many roads in downtown districts being 40-60cm underwater, clogging traffic and inconveniencing local residents.
National carrier Vietnam Airlines and other carriers continued adjusting their flights to and from several central localities on November 4.
Vietnam Airlines cancelled 14 flights between Hà Nội/HCM City and Quy Nhơn, between HCM City/Đà Nẵng and Buôn Mê Thuột, Hà Nội/HCM City and Đà Lạt, and between Hà Nội and Chu Lai.
The cancelled flights are planned to operate on November 5.
Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air also cancelled 22 flights from/to airports in the central region, including Đà Nẵng, Chu Lai, Quy Nhơn, Tuy Hoà, Cam Ranh and Đà Lạt.
The airlines advised passengers to visit their official websites or call customer service centres for updated information. — VNS