Vietnam soldiers on standby for typhoon

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 17 2012 10:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 18 2012 06:05 AM

HANOI - Vietnam put 20,000 soldiers on standby, ordered boats back to shore and began evacuating local residents as it prepared for Typhoon Kai-Tak to make landfall late Friday, officials and reports said.

More than 11,000 boats, including 575 used by tourists at the UNESCO world heritage site Halong Bay, have been ordered to stay close to the shore, the deputy head of Quang Ninh province's flood and storm control department said.

"Mong Cai town, which borders China, will be directly hit by the storm late Friday," Nguyen Cong Thuan told AFP, adding that thousands of residents directly in the storm's path have been relocated to safer areas.

Before blowing away from the Philippines on Thursday, Kai-Tak swept across the main island of Luzon, dumping heavy rain on the Cagayan basin and other areas in the north, killing four people.

Weather forecasters in Vietnam said the typhoon will bring winds of up to 133 kilometres per hour (83 miles per hour) when it makes landfall.

The Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that the Vietnamese army has put 20,000 soldiers, eight helicopters, 72 rescue boats, 400 vehicles and 1,000 canoes on standby to cope with any possible incidents.

Vietnam is hit by an average of between eight and 10 tropical storms every year, often causing heavy material and human losses.