|The direction of the typhoon Higos. —Photo nchmf.gov.vn|
HÀ NỘI — All relevant localities were told to carefully prepare for typhoon Higos, which is forecast to bring torrential rains, flash floods and landslides to northern mountainous provinces until Sunday.
Nguyễn Hoàng Hiệp, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, issued the order when he chaired an urgent meeting of the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control with relevant agencies and northern localities yesterday after the tropical low-pressure system became the fourth typhoon to hit the East Sea this year.
The National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting said the typhoon gained strength from a tropical low-pressure system early yesterday morning. It was about 570km northeast of Hoàng Sa (Paracel) Archipelago by 1pm yesterday with the strongest winds at its eye of 75km per hour. It was moving west-northwest at 20km per hour and would gain more strength in the next 24 hours.
Torrential rains, triggered by the typhoon, were also predicted to inundate urban areas in Hà Nội and Quảng Ninh in the coming days, the centre said.
Therefore, Hiệp told the northern mountainous provinces to quickly check and evacuate people living in high-risk areas of flash floods and landslides.
The provinces were asked to arrange traffic police at areas at risk of flooding to ensure traffic flow and safety for road users, he said.
All forces must be ready to fix roads after heavy rain, he said.
In the meantime, delta provinces and cities were required to allocate forces to cope with flooding in the coming days, he said.
The localities’ administration was also assigned to ensure safety for mines and reservoirs, especially reservoirs of small hydro-power plants that were recently affected by minor earthquakes, he said.
He said the localities’ administration had to pay more attention to the operation of hydro-power plants’ reservoirs on the Đà River.
Hiệp noted that Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường would attend a meeting on the operation of Sơn La Hydro-power Plan’s reservoir during the typhoon.
Hiệp said that this was the peak of flood season in the northern region. At this time, Sơn La Hydro-power Plan’s reservoir was only allowed to store water reaching 197.3 metres. However, the water level of the reservoir was only 1 metre lower than permitted and the water flowing to the reservoir was 5,230 cubic metres per second. It would reach 8,000 cubic metres per second due to the typhoon on Friday.
Thus, it needed close monitoring and flexible operation to ensure safety, he said.
Also at the meeting, Hiệp directed the Search and Rescue agency in localities to broadcast the typhoon’s developments to offshore vessels and ask them to avoid dangerous areas, caused by the typhoon, and find safe anchorage.
Speaking at the meeting yesterday morning, Trần Quang Hoài, deputy head of the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, said there were currently no vessels in dangerous areas.
Hoài also said six earthquakes and aftershocks, measuring about 3-4 on the Richter scale, occurred in the northern province of Sơn La on Monday, so it was necessary to ensure the safety of local reservoirs.
In a report released yesterday by the Border Guard Force and the General Department of Fisheries, about 500 fishing vessels were operating in the Tonkin Gulf yesterday. The agencies would inform the vessels to avoid dangerous areas.
Previously, the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control sent an urgent message on Monday to ask relevant ministers, sectors and localities to take prompt measures to actively prepare for the tropical low-pressure system.
In another development, heavy rains in the northern region have killed two people, leaving two others missing and injuring three.
A 44-year-old man was killed after a landslide occurred early yesterday morning in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu; and a 33-year-old woman reportedly died yesterday after being swept away by a flood in Thái Nguyên Province.
The missing people live in Vĩnh Phúc Province and the three injured people live in Quảng Ninh Province.
The heavy rains also destroyed 114ha of crops, inundated 3km of National Highway No 18 in Quảng Ninh Province and damaged 14 houses in Điện Biên Province. — VNS