Disasters & Accidents

Vietnam prepares to evacuate 1.2 million people as Typhoon Molave nears

Hanoi, Oct 26 (efe-epa).- Vietnam, which has recorded 130 deaths from various storms in the last month, is preparing to evacuate more than 1.2 million people ahead of the expected arrival on Wednesday of Typhoon Molave, which has caused major flooding and landslides as it passes through the Philippines.

According to the Vietnamese National Meteorological Center on Monday, the typhoon is carrying winds of 135 kilometers per hour and has reached the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, where it is expected to gain strength as it moves westwards towards the coast of central Vietnam.

Tran Quang Hoai, deputy director of the center, said Monday in statements published by the online news portal VnExpress that given the storm’s destructive force, authorities are preparing to evacuate more than 1.2 million people from the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam and Bin Dinh.

This is the same area where 130 people have died since the beginning of October and another 20 are missing due to floods and landslides caused by four consecutive tropical storms.

More than 368,000 soldiers, police and volunteers equipped with helicopters, tanks and other vehicles are being deployed in the affected provinces to help move villagers from the most dangerous areas.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called on local authorities to take extreme precautions and ensure that the 65,000 fishing boats operating in the area are returned to shore because “if the typhoon is as strong as predicted, the damage from the rains and flooding will be enormous.”

The president compared Molave to Typhoon Damrey, which in 2017 killed at least 108 people and caused damage valued at more than $1 billion.

Vietnam had prepared last weekend for the arrival of Tropical Storm Saudel, which lost strength as it moved towards the central coast of the country and ended up causing only minor damage.

In the last month, the country has experienced some of the most dramatic flooding in decades, with floodwaters up to four meters high causing severe economic damage in some of its poorest regions, with landslides destroying homes, roads and agriculture.

Typhoon Molave is also threatening neighboring Cambodia, where persistent flooding since the beginning of the month has caused 39 deaths and affected 483,000 people. EFE-EPA

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