Seven people are dead and at least 100 homes and nine boats have been destroyed on Vietnam’s central coast as Typhoon Ketsana makes its presence felt from the East Sea.
The storm, which strengthened from a tropical low on Saturday, had taken a life in Da Nang and another in Nghe An as of Monday night.
In parts of Quang Ngai and nearby provinces, traffic was almost paralyzed after the power was cut on Tuesday morning.
In the town of Hoi An, big waves swept away more than one kilometers of coastal soil and surged onto the land, threatening to destroy hotels and resorts.
Some 100,000 people have been evacuated to safety and schools have been shut down in preparation for the arrival of Ketsana, which killed at least 240 people in the Philippines before heading for Vietnam.
Fishermen at sea are being informed of the storm’s progress and told to seek shelter.
On Monday afternoon, Vietnam Airlines canceled all flights to Da Nang and Hue for 36 hours as the wind grew stronger. Jetstar Pacific also canceled its flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City.
Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, says the destructive power of Storm No. 9, as Ketsana is called in Vietnam, could rival that of Typhoon Xangsane, which wrecked havoc on Da Nang in October 2006, killed or injured over 600 people, and caused property damage estimated at $620 million.
In fact, Ketsana will affect a greater area of the mainland than Xangsane and produce more rain in the central and central highland provinces, according to Tang.
On Tuesday morning, the weather bureau said the eye of the storm was around 50 kilometers to the east of Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam provinces, and generating winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour.
Ketsana is forecast to move westward at 10-15 kilometers per hour and reach Quang Tri and Quang Nam provinces on Tuesday noon, bringing torrential rain and causing flash floods and landslides across the central lowlands and highlands.
Its reach is already extending far to the south and southwest. Le Thi Xuan Lan from the Southern Hydrometeorology Station says Ketsana is generating strong winds from Dong Nai just east of Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand.
Even as Ketsana threatens Vietnam’s central coast, two more tropical depressions have formed over the Pacific Ocean and will strengthen into storms within one or two days, says Tang from the national weather bureau.
Source: Thanh Nien, Tuoi Tre