|Haiyan is one of the biggest and wildest storms to churn through the Pacific in modern times. It's forecasted to hit central and northern regions of Viet Nam. -- Photo doanhnhansaigon.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Agencies and localities from northern Thanh Hoa Province to southern Ca Mau Province are urgently preparing to cope with super storm Haiyan, which means "petrel" (a sea-bird) in Chinese.
The storm, which has recorded wind gusts of up to 315 kilometres per hour, is one of the biggest and wildest storms to churn through the Pacific in modern times. It is also indirectly blamed for the drowning of a school girl in central Thua Thien Hue Province.
Farmers in Thua Thien Hue Province move a fishing boat ashore. -- Photo vnexpress.net
The National Centre for Hydro-meteorology Forecasting said the typhoon was expected to make landfall in central provinces on Sunday after smashing through the Philippines yesterday morning.
Quang Ngai Province's Committee for Flood and Storm Control yesterday banned all boats from putting to sea until the storm passed. It also ordered all boats at sea to try and make safe port by 7pm last night.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent urgent diplomatic notes to China, Malaysia, Indonesia and The Phillipines asking them to provide any endangered Vietnamese boats and their crews with safe shelter if necessary. It also told Vietnamese embassies to co-operate with agencies in those countries.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung chaired an online meeting with threatened localities and agencies and ordered them to take steps to minimise any death and destruction.
Dung also said residents in high-risk areas had to be evacuated to safe locations and school children given days off.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has sent teams of experts to districts to advise them on when- or when not to - release water from reservoirs and irrigation dams to ease any threatening situations.
The latest update from the National Centre for Hydro-meteorology Forecasting said that the typhoon would enter the eastern part of the East Sea late last night.
Deputy director of the meteorology centre, Le Thanh Hai, said the storm was likely to create huge devastation. He warned that torrential rains would probably affect localities from Thanh Hoa to Khanh Hoa, bringing falls of up to 500mm.
Reservoir flood kills
An unannounced release of water from power reservoirs in Thua Thien Hue Province has caused severe floods, killing one school girl and affecting the lives of many people.
Three of her school friends were also swept away, but were later rescued. The girls, from Quang Dien District, were on their way to school when strong floods swept them all away.
Rescuers saved the girl's three friends, but the dead girl's body was not found until three hours later.
Authorities in the province have been warning people in flood-prone areas because of heavy rains associated with the approaching storm and rising water levels in the Huong and Bo rivers.
However, high volumes of water were released unannounced from Huong Dien and Binh Dien power reservoirs. People in flood-prone lowland areas were unable to make proper preparations because the water rose too quickly.
In Quang Dien District, nearly 200ha of unharvested crops have already been inundated, according to Ho Quang Minh, chairman of the district People's Committee.
And dozens of vehicles working on National Highway No 1A in Phong Dien District were reported to have been swallowed by the rising water.
An official in the province's storm and flood prevention office refused to comment on the release of water from reservoirs.
Lam Thi Thu Suu, chief co-ordinator of local NGO Viet Nam River Network told Viet Nam News yesterday reservoir managers often ignored safety rules. — VNS