‘Severe’ Typhoon Doksuri pounds central Vietnam

An uprooted tree is seen on a street after Typhoon Doksuri hits Sanya, Hainan province, China September 15, 2017. (Reuters Photo) Top News

Heavy rain and wind lashed Vietnam’s central coast today as Typhoon Doksuri made landfall, prompting mass evacuations as officials predicted it could be the most powerful storm in a decade. Trees were torn down and local authorities cut power in some areas to avoid accidents as residents who remained in their homes hunkered down.

“The kids stayed at home and there’s not much in the markets. I bought enough instant noodles for the family, so I think we’re good,” Nghe An resident Nguyen Thi Hue, 58, told AFP.

The storm clocked 165 kilometer per hour (102 miles per hour) winds before it reached the coast Friday morning, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which classified Doksuri as a “severe typhoon”.

One person died in Hue province when he was swept away in a river following heavy rains in the area, according to the local government’s website.

A three-year-old child was also injured after the roof blew off her house, the website added.

More than 79,000 people were evacuated across four provinces expected to be hardest hit, the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said. It earlier predicted the storm could be the worst to hit Vietnam in a decade.

Officials also ordered all boats and residents to stay onshore.

“The provinces are focusing on evacuating remaining households to ensure people’s safety,” Agriculture Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said on state-run Vietnam Television (VTV).

“We also need to encourage fishermen to leave their boats, it could be harmful to their lives,” he added.

The storm reached Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces Friday morning, according to VTV, with neighbouring Nghe An and Quang Tri provinces also expected to be battered.

Dozens of flights to the area were cancelled, and most schools were closed.

The Vietnam Red Cross Society said it was donating USD 45,000 and sending essential supplies to the area along with volunteers who were helping people leave their homes.

The government said Thursday it had 250,000 soldiers on standby along with a fleet of vehicles and boats at the ready.

Vietnam is routinely hit by tropical storms from around May to October, with its central coast most frequently affected.

The Southeast Asian nation has already been hit by severe weather this year, with 140 people dead or missing in natural disasters since January, according to official figures.

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