|Residents from HCM City's Thanh An Island Commune find shelter in a children's cultural house, schools and hospitals in Can Thanh Town to cope with a tropical depression which was expected to hit the city last night. — Photo Courtesy of vnexpress.net
HCM CITY (VNS) — Central and southern Viet Nam is weathering a down-sized tropical depression instead of a tropical storm.
Authorities said the regions were well-prepared for the torrential rains and strong winds.
Speaking to Viet Nam News late last night, a member of the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting said that the depression had been expected to develop into the 13th storm of the year while it was travelling over the East Sea with winds of 50-61kilometres per hour.
However, he said that when approaching central Khanh Hoa Province and Binh Thuan Province last night, it was classified below storm level. Winds were moving at between 39-49kph.
The depression is still creating heavy rain with rainfalls to date totalling 50-150mm.
By 7pm, Quang Binh Province's Tuyen Hoa District reported 189mm of rain and A Luoi and Nam Dong districts in Thua Thien-Hue Province had falls of 189mm and 310mm of rains, respectively.
The depression is expected to move towards southern Cambodia today.
Due to the low pressure, seas from Phu Yen to Binh Thuan province as well as the Thailand Gulf should record strong winds and torrential rains.
Many schools in HCM City closed at 9am yesterday after the weather centre's forecast about the depression to hit the city in the afternoon or the evening.
Le Hong Son, head of the HCM City Education and Training Department, said all educational divisions in districts were told to ensure safety for their students.
It banned students from travelling on the river to schools and asked schools to cancel field trips for students in Can Gio District.
Le Thi Minh Loan, head of the educational division in District 9, said that all kindergartens in the district had closed at 9am.
Phuoc Long A Primary School in the district closed at 9am and the Phuc Long B Primary School called for parents to pick up their children at 10am.
The educational division in District 2 held an urgent meeting to ensure safety for students in the district and asked schools in the district to stop classes at 4pm yesterday.
The District 3 authorities asked schools to cancel classes in the case of heavy rains and storms.
Le Van Thom, deputy head of the People's Committee of Can Gio District, said that more than 1,600 residents of Thanh An Island Commune were removed to cultural houses, hospitals and schools in Can Thanh Town yesterday morning.
Nearly 2,000 people in six communes and towns near the coast were brought to safer areas, and more than 1,300 ships were asked to cancel trips.
The city's Department of Transport and People's Committees in districts asked owners of harbours and ferries, tourist ships and hydrofoils to cancel their trips at 9am and park in safe areas.
Authorities will strengthen inspection and closely monitor all waterway vessels to ensure safety and prevent accidents.
Central and southern
Together with HCM City, other cities and provinces in the central and southern regions have asked students to stay at home and called for fishing boats to return to land in preparation for the tropical depression.
The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang temporarily suspended classes for students in Go Cong Dong and Tan Phu Dong districts as well as Go Cong Town as of yesterday afternoon.
The Department of Education and Training in the central province of Khanh Hoa also requested that more than 250,000 students return home and keep stay if the weather worsens.
The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre's education department, however, has not requested that students living near the coast remain at home, but asked local schools and units to monitor weather updates to timely cope with the situation.
Local authorities have also called for all fishing vessels to return to shore or seek safe haven. Thousands of fishing vessels together with their crews were contacted by local sea border guards and committees' for flood and storm control and prevention.
According to Ta Minh Nhut, deputy chairman of the People's Committee of the central province of Binh Thuan's Phu Quy Island District, which was forecast to be the first to be hit by the storm, the district has nearly 1,200 vessels with more than 4,700 crew members.
By yesterday afternoon, some 70 vessels with about 460 people onboard were asked to return to anchorage in areas of safety, while about 500 small vessels were removed from the water, Nhut said.
The sea border guards in Khanh Hoa Province have also contacted and encouraged nearly 4,000 people working on more than 1,400 offshore floating fisheries to return to land.
The provincial sea border guards have also set a ban on the operation of cable cars from land to the Vinpearl Amusement Park until the end of the tropical depression. — VNS