hits south, forces evacuations
|Fishing vessels are
brought ashore in Binh Thuan Province to avoid Typhoon Durian. —
VNA/VNS Photo Vu Anh
|Heavy rain and strong
winds hit the city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province. —VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI — Typhoon Durian
made landfall overnight at Phu Quy Island, 120km from the mainland of Binh Thuan
Province, sinking nine fishing vessels and sweeping away some lobster cages. No
casualities or injuries had been reported.
From yesterday morning,
the typhoon brought heavy rains and strong winds to southern and central
provinces yesterday evening.
Forecasters said provinces
from Binh Thuan to Tra Vinh would bear the brunt of the typhoon, which has
already left around a thousand dead in the Philippines.
As of 7pm yesterday, the
typhoon was packing winds of up to 102km per hour. It was moving southwest at
15km per hour.
Tens of thousands in
high-risk areas have already been evacuated to safer ground in numerous
provinces despite the initial reluctance of many residents.
At an emergency meeting in
Ha Noi yesterday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said safety
for people and mitigation of human losses would be the top tasks in preparing
for the typhoon.
He urged chairmen of
provincial People’s Committees to rally all forces to resolutely bring people
to the safe areas and dispatch officials to guard property. Localities should
take initatives in preventing the flood and landslides, he said.
"Provinces in which
typhoons haven’t before hit need to immediately stop underestimating the
threat," Hung said, adding that local leaders would be punished for being
Hung also asked ministries
and agencies to work out measures for relief aid and search and rescue and not
leave any person hungry or homeless due to the typhoon.
Yesterday morning, Hung
chaired a similar meeting in Ha Noi. He expressed anxiety that the southern
region was rarely hit by storms, leaving local residents and authorities
inexperienced in preventing natural disasters.
The problem might be
compounded as there were no mountains in the region to help reduce the power of
Durian was expected to
directly affect coastal provinces from Phu Yen to Soc Trang.
It would then move deeply
into the southern Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and the south before weakening
into a tropical low in the Viet Nam-Cambodia border area.
The Central Steering
Committee for Storm and Flood Control said the typhoon would coincide with high
tides so it could stay in the country until Wednesday morning.
The committee directed the
coastal provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and
Ba Ria-Vung Tau to keep evacuating people from vulnerable areas.
Fishermen were told not to
stay on their vessels even though anchored or on aqua-culture farms on seas or
Preparedness needed be
completed by 8pm yesterday, including applying coercion for evacuations.
Deputy Prime Minister
Truong Vinh Trong chaired a meeting in HCM City yesterday to guide southern
provinces to cope with the typhoon.
He directly called on each
provincial People’s Committee chairman to do anything possible to mitigate
losses to human life and property.
Later, he toured Ba
Ria-Vung Tau to examine the local preparation efforts.
The Government has
directed the army to use helicopters in signalling vessels at sea to drop
Numerous policemen and
soldiers were dispatched to areas to help local residents.
While guiding locals to
relocate in the morning, the head of the Ninh Thuan storm and flood control
department, Do Huu Nghi, said anxiously that "the area has had few storms
so houses have not been built firmly and people have been neglectful. Being at
the centre of a typhoon, we may suffer huge losses."
Many residents were
reluctant to evacuate. They believed they would not be typhoon victims as they
have never witnessed a storm of this magnitude in the past 50 years, said People’s
Committee chairman Hoang Thi Ut Lan.
Some 20 local fishermen
refused to leave their shrimp farms. The province had to mobilise forces and
facilities to compel them to move to safe shelter, Lan said.
HCM City’s officials
feared that the city was likely to be hit by a flood of the scope of 1952’s
"The whole city would
be submerged," said deputy chairman of the city’s flood and storm control
department, Pham Van Thang.
The outlying Can Gio
District has evacuated 1,000 households.
Sr Lt Col Phan Van Quang
from the Border Guard High Command said yesterday afternoon that 769 vessels
with over 7,000 crew remained at sea.
Most of them had taken
refuge on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratlys) Islands and some were
moving to avoid the typhoon in Indonesian or Malaysian territorial waters.
Over 44,800 vessels with
833,000 fishermen were called back to shore or told to drop anchor.
The border guard also
moved almost 18,800 fishermen and 73,000 shrimp cages to higher ground.
Earlier yesterday morning,
high waves hit a Malaysian barge carrying 7,000cu.m of timber, running it
aground off Quy Nhon City in Binh Dinh Province. Local authorities were trying
to salvage the barge to avoid an oil spill at sea. Loss of timber was estimated
at VND7 billion. — VNS