Vietnam to evacuate 150,000 ahead of typhoon Cimaron

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday October 31, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City- Provinces in central Vietnam prepared to evacuate at least 150,000 people in coastal provinces Tuesday as typhoon Cimaron bore down on the country after killing 16 people in the Philippines. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung sent an urgent message to the military and coastal provinces from Quang Ninh in the north to Kien Giang in the south to call fishing boats ashore and deploy forces.

"Cimaron is a very complicated and powerful typhoon," said Le Hong Phong, an official from the National Center for Hydro-meteorology Forecast. "We need to be fully prepared to cope."

Residents along the central coast, already reeling from the devastation of typhoon Xangsane a month ago, rushed to secure their houses ahead of the storm, which packed winds of up to 166 km per hour, officials said.

"Sandbags are being loaded on houses' roofs to keep them from being blown off," said Le Viet Duong, head of the storm department of Quang Tri province, which plans to evacuate 60,000 people by Wednesday afternoon.

At 7 a.m. Tuesday, the typhoon was 1,100 kilometres off the central Vietnam moving west at 10 kilometres per hour, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorology Forecast.

If the storm keeps its course, it could hit Vietnam's coast Saturday morning.

By Tuesday, long-range fishing boats were being called to shore and plans for evacuations made in several provincez, including 40,000 in Quang Binh starting Wednesday.

"We still have 31 fishing boats that haven't made it ashore yet," said Nguyen Ngoc Giai with Quang Binh storm department.

Thua Thien Hue province will evacuate at least 50,000 people beginning Wednesday morning.

"The evacuation will be conducted swiftly within one day," said Phan Thanh Hung, head of the storm department of Thua Thien-Hue. "Military forces are standing by to assist the evacuation."

Cimaron would be the third major storm to affect Vietnam this year.

Just a month ago, typhoon Xangsane killed 42 people and left tens of thousands of people homeless in central Vietnam.

In May, typhoon Chanchu veered north and spared the coastline but caught dozens of Vietnamese deep-sea fishing boats unaware and more than 200 sailors were lost at sea.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency