Vietnam ready to evacuate 1.3 million people as typhoon approaches

Khanh Vu and Neil Jerome Morales, Reuters

Posted at Oct 26 2020 05:38 PM

Vietnam ready to evacuate 1.3 million people as typhoon approaches 1
Outrigger boats washed up along the shore of Barangay Masaging, Municipality of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro in this photo taken at 8AM, after Typhoon Quinta made landfall in the province on Monday morning, October 26, 2020. Photo courtesy of Gheymark Fabellon

HANOI/MANILA - Vietnam is preparing to evacuate nearly 1.3 million people as it braces for the impact of typhoon Molave, which lashed the Philippines overnight causing flooding, landslides and leaving at least a dozen fishermen missing on Monday.

Typhoon Molave, with wind speeds of 125 kilometre (77 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph, left the main Philippine island of Luzon earlier on Monday, with heavy rain causing seven landslides and floods in 11 areas, the disaster agency said.

There were no reports of casualties, but 12 fishermen at sea failed to return to Catanduanes province off the country's eastern coast.

Molave, the 17th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, is forecast to make landfall in central Vietnam on Wednesday, with wind speeds of up to 135 kph.

It will be the fourth storm to hit Vietnam in a tumultuous month during which floods and landslides have killed 130 people and left 20 missing in the central region.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.

"This is a very strong typhoon that will impact a large area," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in an urgent warning to provinces and cities in Molave's path to prepare.

Phuc compared Molave to Typhoon Damrey, which killed more than 100 people in central Vietnam in 2017. He ordered boats ashore and told the security forces to get ready.

"Troops must deploy full force to support people, including mobilising helicopters, tanks and other means of transportation if needed," Phuc said in a statement.

About 11.8 million people in Vietnam's costal provinces are exposed to the threat of intense flooding, with 35% of settlements located on crowded and eroding coastlines, a World Bank report said last week. 

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi and Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Martin Petty)