Phú Yên beach Wednesday morning battered by strong winds and waves. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Storm Molave made landfall in central Việt Nam at noon on Wednesday, bringing winds as strong as 115-135km an hour and rainfall of 100-320mm throughout the region.
The disaster risk of the Molave storm is at Level 4 out of the country's five warning levels.
Two vessels with 26 fishermen on board from Bình Định Province are missing, and Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng, who is in Đà Nẵng to direct response to the storm, asked the defence ministry to deploy two navy ships and three fisheries resources surveillance boats from Cam Ranh Port in Khánh Hoà to search for them.
The ships went missing at about 1pm yesterday as they attempted to return to the mainland to avoid the storm.
In the morning, the owner of another ship at sea who was able to get into contact with one of the missing ships said the 12 men on board are still safe, according to the Việt Nam Maritime Communications and Electronics company.
Deputy PM Dũng said helicopters are standing by to launch a search and rescue mission when the weather improves.
At 1pm, the eye of the storm was over Quảng Ngãi and Quảng Nam provinces, with winds weakening to 90-110km an hour, or scale 10-11 in the Beaufort wind force scale of 15, with gusts reaching up to scale 12.
Heavy rains, rising river water level, traffic interruptions, power outages, uprooted trees and damaged houses have been widely reported across the central region to the Central Highlands.
As of 12pm, power losses were reported in 403 communes and wards in Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Phú Yên, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Đắk Lắk. The Central Power Corporation (EVNCPC) said it is trying to restore electricity to its customers as soon as possible.
Satellite photo of the storm Molave at 1pm Wednesday. — Photo courtesy of the National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting
At about 1pm, Quảng Ngãi Province authorities insisted people must not leave their home or shelter, even during when winds and rains seem to have stopped as it might be just the eye of the storm passing over.
All those evacuated to shelter should remain in place until 4pm when the worst of the storm passes and the debris and fallen trees on the roads are cleared, the provincial authorities requested.
At 10:30am, Đặng Văn Minh, Chairman of Quảng Ngãi People’s Committee, deployed an armoured military vehicle to bring a resident at Sông Trà Hotel to the hospital as he suffered from abnormally high blood pressure.
So far, hundreds of houses in Quảng Ngãi have collapsed or had their roofs blown off by this morning, and a number of canoes and boats anchored at Lý Sơn Island were reportedly sunk by the strong waves.
The province reported two deaths this morning of men who fell to their deaths while preparing for the approaching storm.
At noon, Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands region confirmed another death. A 32-year-old man in Pleiku City did not survive the collapse of the wall of a house that he temporarily sought shelter in earlier in the morning.
Two fishermen stranded on a sinking fishing vessel in Tam Quang Commune, Quảng Nam Province, were rescued at noon.
Strong winds are said to be occurring from around 10am to 1-2pm, with persistent downpours to follow.
Đà Nẵng police clear fallen trees on the road to ensure traffic safety Wednesday morning. — VNA/VNS Photo
The National Centre for Hydrometeorological Forecasting in its 2:30pm report said in the next 12 hours, the storm is expected to move in a west-northwest direction before weakening into a low-pressure area over the Việt Nam-Laos border at around 7pm today.
The winds near the centre of the low-pressure system could reach 40-50km an hour, the centre said.
It warned that seas off the central coastal region from Đà Nẵng to Phú Yên, will see a highly disturbed ocean with waves as high as 4-6m and winds as strong as 75-100km an hour.
Deputy PM Dũng said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc frequently called him to get updates on the situation.
Once the conditions permit, Dũng and a working group will visit the south-central region to monitor and direct relief efforts. — VNS
A damaged house in Sông Cầu Town, Phú Yên. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Cường