|Vessels anchor to avoid the typhoon in the south-central province of Phú Yên. — VNA/VNS Photo Thế Lập|
HÀ NỘI — Fourteen provinces in the south-central and Central Highlands regions are urgently preparing after a tropical low-pressure system gained more strength and became the ninth typhoon to hit the East Sea this year at 2pm on Thursday.
The National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting warned the typhoon would make landfall on Phú Yên and Bình Thuận provinces at midnight on Saturday, causing torrential rains with average rainfall of 200-300mm for south-central and south-east provinces.
Localities stretching from Thừa Thiên Huế to Bình Thuận province might suffer downpour with rainfall up to 300-500mm.
The centre said at 4pm on Thursday, the typhoon was some 100km east of Song Tử Tây Island, of the Trường Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, with the wind speed near its eye reaching 75km per hour. The typhoon was moving west-northwest at 15km per hour and is set to gain more strength.
In the south-central province of Khánh Hoà’s Nha Trang City where abnormal torrential rains caused the deaths of 18 people last weekend, the administration was evacuating nearly 400 households living in high-risk landslide and flash flood areas to safety. It also ordered agencies to take prompt actions to cope with the typhoon.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Trung Tâm of the Military Region 5’s Division 305 said the division had dispatched soldiers to support local residents to reinforce houses before the typhoon landed.
In the meantime, the border guard force was instructing offshore vessels to go to the nearest port to avoid the typhoon.
In the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng, the provincial People’s Committee sent an urgent message on Wednesday to mobilise all forces to prepare for the typhoon after the centre forecast that heavy rains, landslides and flash floods would hit the province.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development was told to inspect local reservoirs and people’s committees at communes were ordered to put warning signs at roads and ferry terminals.
Hoàng Sỹ Bích, deputy head of the department, said local reservoirs only had about 60 per cent of their capacity filled, so they were at a safe level.
Also on Thursday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường co-chaired an urgent meeting to direct the 14 provinces to prepare for the typhoon.
Speaking at the meeting, Dũng pointed out major tasks the provinces needed to implement. The tasks include evacuating residents living in areas at high risks of landslides and flash floods, reinforcing houses and sea dykes, and making plans to ensure reservoirs’ safety. Additionally, rescue forces should be ready for emergencies.
Agricultural minister Cường said the provinces had to inform offshore vessels on the storm’s developments.
Cường also asked the provinces to take all possible measures to minimise damages.
|The direction of the ninth typhoon. — Photo nchmf.gov.vn|
Natural-disaster prevention strategy
In a related move, scientists of the Việt Nam Academy of Science And Technology at a forum on Thursday suggested the country should map out a strategy to cope with natural disasters.
“This aims to build a society safer from natural disasters,” said Professor Nguyễn Đình Công, deputy head of the academy said.
The need was great as Việt Nam is one of 10 countries suffering the most from natural disasters and climate change, harming the nation’s economic development, Công said.
According to Công, natural disasters had caused estimated average losses accounting for 1-1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product each year over the past 20 years. The figure is predicted to increase in coming years.
Statistics of the agricultural ministry showed natural disasters caused losses of nearly VNĐ40 trillion (US$1.7 billion) in 2016 and more than VNĐ60 trillion ($2.57 billion) in 2017.
Participants at the forum said coping with natural disasters was a hard task, requiring comprehensive research on Việt Nam’s situation combined with lessons from other countries.
In another development, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc recently ordered ministries, sectors and localities to focus on remedying coastal erosion and responding to the El Nino.
PM Phúc said the sea played a very important role in the country’s development. Therefore, protection of the coast and marine environment should receive special attention from ministries, sectors and localities.
Latest statistics from local administrations showed there were 88 erosions with a combined length of 120km dotted along the central-region coastline and 562 erosions along 786km of coast in the Mekong Delta region so far.
He told the agricultural ministry to work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Science and Technology to issue solutions to fix the situation.
He approved spending VNĐ1.8 trillion ($77.1 million) to help localities remedy consequences of coastal erosion.
As forecast, El Nino will impact Việt Nam soon and potentially cause drought, especially, in the central region.
Phúc told the agricultural ministry to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and localities to regulate reservoirs to ensure safety and prevent drought, especially in late 2018 and early 2019. — VNS