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Typhoon leaves 63 dead, 25 missing

Update: December, 06/2006 - 00:00

Typhoon leaves 63 dead, 25 missing

(06-12-2006)

Houses in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province’s Loc An Commune have been destroyed by Typhoon Durian. By yesterday afternoon, more than 220 houses in the province were reported destroyed completely. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Vu

HCM CITY — Tropical typhoon Durian yesterday claimed at least 63 lives and left 25 missing as it swept through the country’s south, after making its first landfall in Binh Thuan Province’s Phu Quy Island on Monday night.

The storm also destroyed thousands of houses and fishing vessels in southern provinces and in HCM City.

After moving from the Philippines, where it killed more than 1,000 people, the typhoon hit Phu Quy Island first, then swept through HCM City, southern provinces and Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

According to the Central Committee for Storm and Flood Control, as of yesterday afternoon, the typhoon had killed 34 people in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, 19 in Ben Tre, four in Vinh Long, two in Tien Giang, two in Binh Thuan and another two in Can Gio, an outlying district of HCM City.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau was hardest hit with over 6,700 houses damaged, following by Kien Giang with 6,300.

The typhoon also sank almost 900 vessels, mostly in Binh Thuan.

Second Linda

Government leaders yesterday urged provinces in the Mekong Delta to be on high alert to avoid another Linda, a typhoon that wreaked havoc in the region in 1997.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued an urgent message to ministries, agencies and various provinces in the south and Mekong Delta to take drastic measures to cope with the typhoon.

Mekong Delta provinces were told to continue evacuating residents from high-risk areas and call for their vessels to drop anchor, particularly on the western coast.

According to the directive, the provinces must not allow their residents to stay on vessels or aqua-culture watchtowers. Coercion could be applied to bring people to safe shelters, it said.

The Government leader also asked for localities to put off unnecessary meetings to focus on typhoon prevention and permit local students to stay away from unsecured schools.

Two deputy prime ministers Nguyen Sinh Hung and Truong Vinh Trong have closely monitored rescue and aid efforts in affected areas.

Hung, Trong and other officials expressed their anxiety for the unusual progress of the typhoon, which changed its course from earlier predictions to hit Khanh Hoa, then Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan and on to the Mekong Delta.

VN helps Filipino victims

HA NOI — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday asked the Ministry of Finance to take 500 tonnes of rice out of reserves to support people in the Philippines who are suffering the consequences of Typhoon Durian.
In accordance with Dung’s decision, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will assign the Southern Food Stuff Corporation to transfer the rice to the Philippines. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was assigned to inform the Filipino embassy in Ha Noi about the relief and work with relevant ministries to implement the decision. — VNS

Trong from HCM City criticised some of the southern provinces for underestimating the threat.

"When I was in Ba Ria-Vung Tau yesterday afternoon, I saw local residents having neither sand bags nor ropes while trying to protect their houses," he said.

Binh Thuan was criticised for not sending leaders to the Phu Quy Island, the first locality in Viet Nam to be hit by the typhoon, to guide preparation for the storm.

Though there were no casualties on the island, the typhoon destroyed many fishing boats and houses.

The island’s electricity supply and telecommunication system and facilities were destroyed. The initial damage was estimated at VND350 billion (US$21.8 million).

Concerted forces

Beginning yesterday morning, committee members and Binh Thuan Province People’s Committee staff delivered relief supplies to islanders by helicopters and rescue boats. Food supplies would last no more than 10 days, officials said.

Deputy PM Hung has ordered the delivery of an additional 200 tonnes of rice to the island.

Meanwhile, in Ham Tan District, a fallen concrete cross killed a mother and her child when they took shelter in a local church.

Following Hung’s guidance, the Ministry of National Defence has dispatched a helicopter to Phu Quy Island and a freighter carrying food and tents to local victims.

Viet Nam Red Cross was also providing the area with 300 family kits as first aid.

Despite having their barracks ravaged, military officers and soldiers on the island were joining hands with local people to overcome the typhoon’s aftermath.

Military Zone 5 has rallied over 3,500 soldiers and 55 facilities to help mitigate the possible losses in affected provinces.

The Ministry of Public Security yesterday asked their local units to partake in protecting human lives and ensuring security, particularly when power was off.

In Ben Tre Province, about 70 km Southwest of HCM City, 19 people have been reported dead and more than 400 people injured. Four fishing boats were reported missing and the number of people on board them was unknown.

The provincial People’s Committee also said that about 4,000 houses had been destroyed. Communication to Giong Trom and Ba Tri districts was severed because of the storm.

The province’s coastal Binh Dai District was hardest hit with more than 90 per cent of the houses struck down.

In his visit to the district, Deputy Prime Minister Trong asked the provincial leadership to help local residents overcome the aftermath as soon as possible.

The provincial People’s Committee has said that it would assist each surviving family with VND2 million ($125), and provide free medical treatment to the injured.

The typhoon swept through HCM City’s Can Gio District yesterday morning, leaving eight missing, striking nearly 100 houses and taking the roofs off 690 houses. The worst-hit areas included Thanh An and Ly Nhon communes.

Earlier, the district authorities were able to resettle 4,300 people in the district to safe areas.

The central flood and storm committee said local people were still missing at sea last night. That was partly due to lax control from the locality.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said the typhoon was expected to strike the southernmost Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces later yesterday before it moved toward the Gulf of Thailand.

Yesterday, the People’s Committee in Kien Giang Province requested that all fishing boats return to shore.

The provincial Committee for Flood and Storm Control said that it was concerned most about the island districts, including Kien Hai and Phu Quoc. — VNS

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