Hanoi, Oct 27 (efe-epa).- Vietnam was on Tuesday about to complete the mass evacuation of over half a million people from high-risk areas ahead of the arrival of typhoon Molave, which has killed three people and left nine missing the Philippines.
The Vietnamese national center for meteorology said that the typhoon, packing winds of up to 165 kilometers per hour, was moving towards the coasts of central Vietnam and is expected to make landfall by Wednesday morning.
Mai Van Khiem, the director of the center, told reporters that the storm could be the strongest to hit Vietnam since the beginning of this year.
Although the authorities had first announced the evacuation of 1.2 million people, a more precise update by the meteorological service over the projected path of the typhoon led to the prioritized displacement of around 572,000 people from the areas most at risk.
Thousands of fishing boats have been moored on the shores of the Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh provinces, where classes have also been suspended in educational institutes while thousands of regular flights were canceled and beaches were cleared.
More than 368,000 soldiers, police officers and volunteers, equipped with helicopters, tanks and other vehicles, have been deployed in the region to help the local residents face the risk of floods and landslides.
The provinces on alert have already been lashed by three back-to-back storms this month, in which 130 people were killed and around 20 went missing due to floods and landslides.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday compared Molave with the typhoon Damrey, which had killed at least 108 people and caused damage worth over $1 billion in 2017.
Molave, which lashed central Philippines between Sunday and Monday, led to one person drowning on the island of Marinduque and two others on Negros Oriental, part of the central Bisayas region.
The 9 missing persons are all sailors who were stranded on high sea in the storm’s passage, including 8 onboard a boat passing through the waters of the eastern Catanduanes province, while four others from the same vessel were rescued alive.
Molave triggered strong winds, flooding and landslides across the region and around 70,000 people remain evacuated in the Philippines.
The storm intensified into a typhoon hours before reaching the Philippines on Sunday afternoon, and made landfall at least five times on the central Philippine islands in its east-to-west trajectory.
The typhoon could also affect neighboring Cambodia, where persistent floods since the beginning of October have killed 40 people and affected around 545,000. EFE-EPA