Tropical storm loses force in Vietnam

Associated Press
2008-11-17 08:21 PM
A tropical storm heading to Vietnam lost force before striking the country’s central coast on Monday, bringing heavy rains but no deaths or injuries, officials said.

As the storm was approaching, officials called home thousands of fishing boats and began evacuating thousands of people from high-risk areas.

But Tropical Storm Noul quickly lost strength when it made landfall between the south-central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan, said disaster official Tran Xuan Hoa of Ninh Thuan. It had been packing winds of 74 kilometers (46 miles) per hour as it churned toward the country’s southern coast.

Nearly 10,000 people who had been evacuated from coastal villages will be able to go home, Hoa said.

“The danger is over,” he said.

Weather forecasters initially predicted that the storm would hit Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, and then cut across the vast Mekong River Delta. That region is especially vulnerable to storm damage, with its dense population and makeshift houses.

But later in the day, the storm changed course, forecasters said.

Officials warned that heavy rains could worsen flooding in Ho Chi Minh City, parts of which have been inundated by surging tides over the last week.

Earlier this month, 94 people died in floods that inundated the capital, Hanoi, and other provinces in the country’s northern and central regions.

Vietnam is prone to floods, which kill hundreds each year.

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Thousands evacuate as Vietnam braces for storm

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam called its fishermen ashore and began evacuating 80,000 people from high-risk areas as a tropical storm churned toward the country’s southern coast Monday.

Weather forecasters said Tropical Storm Noul, packing winds of 74 kilometers (46 miles) per hour, was expected to make landfall later Monday between the provinces of Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa.

Hanoi officials urged provincial authorities to take urgent measures to minimize damages and said nearly 80,0000 people needed to be evacuated, according to the government Web site.

More than 24,500 fishing trawlers with 133,000 fishermen had been called ashore ahead of the storm, the government said.

In Khanh Hoa, emergency workers had begun evacuating thousands of residents from coastal areas to higher ground, said provincial disaster official Nguyen Xuan Quang.

Khanh Hoa, whose capital is the tourist city of Nha Trang, is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of Ho Chi Minh City.

About 2,000 residents on an island off the coast of the southern commercial center of Ho Chi Minh City were being evacuated, said Vice Agriculture Minister Dao Xuan Hoc.

Weather forecasters initially predicted that the storm would hit Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, and then cut across the vast Mekong River Delta. That region is especially vulnerable to storm damage, with its dense population and makeshift houses.

But later in the day, the storm changed course, forecasters said.

Officials warned that heavy rains could worsen flooding in Ho Chi Minh City, parts of which have been inundated by surging tides over the last week.

Earlier this month, 94 people died in floods that inundated the capital, Hanoi, and other provinces in the country’s northern and central regions.

Vietnam is prone to floods, which kill hundreds each year.

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Tropical storm threatens southern Vietnam

Hanoi – Heavy rains that have caused 12 deaths in Vietnam’s southern and central regions are making way for a tropical storm expected to hit the Mekong Delta provinces Tuesday, disaster officials said Monday. Phan Phu Chinh of the Central Committee for Storm and Flood Control said that as of Monday morning, floods had killed 12 people and left one missing in south-central Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces. Thousands of homes have been submerged.

Chinh said the central provinces saw heavy rain between November 13 and 16. By Monday, heavy rains ceased, but rivers continued to rise.

The bodies of three children washed away by floods were found Sunday in Khanh Hoa province. The floods cut off railroads and highways connecting southern and central Vietnam.

Authorities Monday morning reported Tropical Storm Noul was expected to make landfall Tuesday in the country’s central region and the Mekong River delta. The storm was expected to pack winds of 62 to 88 kilometres per hour.

Vietnamese media reported Sunday that Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung had urged provinces to move people to higher ground and to call home thousands of fishing boats.

Schools in storm stricken areas will close for several days starting Tuesday. Boats have been banned from operating on some rivers.

Local media reported the country’s border guards had managed to contact just 2,000 out of 18,000 vessels operating in the South China sea to warn them of the storm.

Vietnam disaster centres and local media said floods had submerged thousands of homes in Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend.

Floods are a common occurrence in Vietnam and kill hundreds of people every year.

According to Vietnamese authorities, floods between October 31 and November 6 triggered by heavy rains in the country’s north and centre killed 59 people and inundated the capital, Hanoi. Other media put the number of deaths as high as 94.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/241934,tropical-storm-threatens-southern-vietnam.html

Storm churns towards Vietnam

Reuters
Monday, November 17, 2008

By Ho Binh Minh

A strong tropical storm churned towards southern Vietnam on Monday, threatening a direct hit on the densely populated Mekong Delta and substantial damage to the country’s coffee production.

State-run forecasters said Tropical Storm Noul, with winds of 88 kph (55 mph), would reach landfall around the tourist spots of Nha Trang and Mui Ne late on Monday and cross the coffee-growing province of Lam Dong.

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer and the third-largest producer of crude oil in Southeast Asia.

Noul’s arrival coincides with the peak of the coffee harvest in the Central Highlands. Torrential rains could halt the harvest and prevent farmers from drying beans outdoors, causing delays and lowering quality.

The storm could also wreak havoc in the delta, which normally avoids the worst of the storms that roll in from the South China Sea, making people who live there relatively unprepared for disaster.

“It could cause huge damage to lives and property,” Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said in an urgent telegraph to provincial authorities and state oil and gas group Petrovietnam.

All offshore oil production remained operational, an official from Petrovietnam said, although state television said Vietsovpetro, a Russian joint venture, would temporarily shut operation on four oil rigs and evacuate workers.

It did not say how much production would be affected.

In his telegraph, Hung ordered the immediate recall of all fishing boats in the area and said children should not go to school as preparations were made for mass evacuations across a 400 km (250 mile) swathe of coastline.

More than 74,000 people needed evacuation while more than 133,000 fishermen had been warned to take shelter as the storm moved to within 100 kms (65 miles) of the coast, the government said.

In neighbouring Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen cancelled a scheduled trip on Tuesday to the coastal province of Kampot, abutting Vietnam, because of the storm.

Vietnamese government reports said more than 17,000 fishing boats were operating near the Spratlys in the path of the storm.

The Mekong Delta, where the latest rice crop has been harvested, is rarely hit by storms. Typhoon Linda caught the region unawares in November 1997, killing at least 464 people. The government never revised an initial tally that listed more than 3,200 people as missing.

(Additional reporting by Nguyen Nhat Lam and Ek Madra in Phnom Penh; Editing by Ed Cropley and David Fox)

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Tropical storm to hit Vietnam

HANOI – A STRONG tropical storm is forecasted to slam into Vietnam’s southern coast late on Monday, bringing heavy rains to its central and southern provinces which may disrupt the country’s coffee harvest, state-run radio said.

Storm Noul was moving fast and its damage could be huge, given it would land in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, where residents have little experience fighting storms, the Voice of Vietnam radio said in an urgent bulletin.

The storm could disrupt oil and gas production off Vietnam’s southern coast while heavy rains may halt the coffee harvest about to peak in the country’s Central Highlands. — REUTERS

Tropical storm to hit Vietnam

Vietnam’s death toll from storm rises to 8

Fishermen move a fishing boat to higher ground ahead of tropical storm Mekkhala in central city of Danang, Vietnam Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. The storm lammed into central Vietnam Tuesday, knocking down trees, electricity poles and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in high risk areas, officials said. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

Fishermen move a fishing boat to higher ground ahead of tropical storm Mekkhala in central city of Danang, Vietnam Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. The storm lammed into central Vietnam Tuesday, knocking down trees, electricity poles and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in high risk areas, officials said. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The bodies of two children and three fishermen were recovered in central Vietnam, raising the death toll from Tropical Storm Mekkhala to eight with eight others still missing and feared dead, disaster officials said Thursday.

The bodies of the 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy were found Wednesday after they were washed away from their house in Ha Tinh province, disaster official Nguyen Khoa Thanh said. Rescuers also recovered the bodies of three fishermen in Quang Tri and Quang Binh provinces, where four others remained missing after the storm sank their boats, provincial officials said.

Four people remained unaccounted for in Thanh Hoa province, disaster official Do Minh Chinh said.

Mekkhala slammed into Vietnam’s central coast Tuesday morning before moving to Laos later the same day.

The storm, packing winds of 55 mph, destroyed or blew the roofs off of hundreds of houses and sank dozens of boats. It also triggered heavy rains across the region.

Mekkhala hit as northern Vietnam was still recovering from Typhoon Hagupit, which struck last Thursday. Floods triggered by the typhoon killed 41 people and caused an estimated $65 million in damage.

Another tropical storm, Higos, was churning across Vietnamese maritime territory toward China’s Hainan island on Thursday and threatening hundreds of fishermen stuck at sea, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien of Quang Binh province.

“We are not allowing people to go fishing at the moment,” Dien said.

Higos was not expected to hit the Vietnamese mainland directly.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai urged the Foreign Ministry to contact countries in the region to allow Vietnamese fishermen in the storm’s path to take shelter, the national committee on floods and storms control said.

Vietnam is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.

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Tropical storm kills 3 in central Vietnam

Fishermen move a fishing boat to higher ground ahead of tropical storm Mekkhala in central city of Danang, Vietnam Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. The storm lammed into central Vietnam Tuesday, knocking down trees, electricity poles and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in high risk areas, officials said. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

Fishermen move a fishing boat to higher ground ahead of tropical storm Mekkhala in central city of Danang, Vietnam Monday, Sept. 29, 2008. The storm lammed into central Vietnam Tuesday, knocking down trees, electricity poles and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in high risk areas, officials said. (AP Photo/Vietnam News Agency)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Tropical Storm Mekkhala slammed into central Vietnam on Tuesday, killing three people and leaving 10 others missing, disaster officials said.

A 9-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother were swept away while crossing a stream in Quang Binh province, said disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Dien. Three other people were missing elsewhere in the province, he said.

In neighboring Ha Tinh province, a man died when he was blown off the roof of his home while trying to reinforce it during the storm. Two teenagers in the province were missing after being swept away while crossing a stream, said disaster official Le Dinh Son.

In Quang Tri province, five people were reported missing.

The storm arrived as people in northern Vietnam were still cleaning up following Typhoon Hagupit, which killed 41 people last week and caused damage estimated at US$65 million.

Mekkhala, packing winds of 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour), blew tin roofs off houses in Quang Binh province, Dien said, adding that power blackouts were reported in the provincial capital Dong Hoi.

Tran Minh Ky, vice governor of Ha Tinh province, said 10,000 people in coastal villages had earlier been evacuated. However, some began returning to their homes Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved into Laos and rains stopped, said Son.

Rescue workers in northern Son La province are still struggling to reach isolated villages devastated by floods triggered by Typhoon Hagupit.

Vietnam is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.

Hagupit killed 17 people and left six missing in the Guangxi region of southern China last week, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in a story posted Tuesday. Nearly 700,000 people there were evacuated after heavy rains and flooding destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes.


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