Typhoons near Vietnam, Philippines

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/11/23/asia.storms/?iref=hpmostpop

(CNN) — The Philippines and Vietnam stepped up the evacuations of tens of thousands ahead of the landfalls of two separate typhoons expected on Saturday.

In Vietnam, officials were evacuating 200,000 people, as Typhoon Hagibis neared the nation’s southern coast, days after unleashing deadly landslides and floods in the Philippines, The Associated Press reported. The typhoon was packing 133 kph (83 mph), AP reported.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Red Cross was preparing in “full force” for Typhoon Mitag’s arrival, Benjamin Delfin of the Red Cross told CNN.

“At present, our dispatch response teams to our local chapters are on 24-hour standby,” Delfin said. Families in “most of the vulnerable areas prone to landslide and those families living (along) the coastline” have been evacuated, he said. Delfin did not specify how many people were affected.

The typhoon was packing winds of up to 175 kph (109 mph), with gusts of 210 kph (131 mph), according to AP. VideoWatch what areas will be most affected »

The typhoon’s high winds were being felt across the northern and central regions of the archipelago nation, including areas still recovering from Hagibis.

Under threat was the Bicol region — an area in the southeastern end of Luzon, the northernmost of the country’s island groups.

As Mitag bore down on the Philippines, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered mass evacuations, the government reported. Some 40,000 people in the province of Albay were being forced to evacuate, it said.

The government also raised the possibility that Mitag could strike the nation as a super-typhoon — a storm equivalent to a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. At last report, Mitag was just shy of Category 3 status.

Just days ago Typhoon Hagibis — or Lando, as it is called in the Philippines — struck Visayas and Mindanao, the central and southern island groups of the country. The typhoon is blamed for killing at least 10 people, the Philippine government reported on its Web site.

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