VIETNAM. Hanoi: On Tuesday, Vietnam called upon its citizens for a full mobilisation of evacuation efforts as an intensifying Typhoon Noru is rapidly advancing towards the southeast Asian nation, after causing at least eight deaths and widespread flooding in the Philippines.
The country’s meteorological agency notified residents that wind speeds were seen reaching 183 kilometres per hour late on Tuesday.
“Noru was expected to make its entrance and its massive landfall in Vietnam on Wednesday, before weakening and moving on to Thailand,” the agency added.
Typhoon Noru compelled airports in Vietnam to shut down their operations, causing travel disruption, while thousands were forced to evacuate their homes, according to official statements. The wind speed reached 134–149 km per hour early on Tuesday, the meteorological agency said.
“We don’t have much time left. The storm is intensifying, so our responses must be stronger and faster,” Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said at an emergency disaster response meeting on Tuesday.
“Evacuation must be done as soon as possible, with top priorities being people’s lives and assets.”
Vietnam’s aviation authority closed nine airports across the country on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of domestic and international flights to be cancelled.
Around 270,000 military personnel have been placed on standby, the government said in a statement.
The worst-hit areas were expected to be the central provinces of Quang Ngai, home to the Dung Quat oil refinery, and Quang Nam, home to the World Heritage Site of Hoi An.
Quang Nam Province evacuated more than 133,000 residents, the government said in a statement, while footage from state media VTV showed people securing their homes with sandbags and bricks.
Authorities were racing to secure the country’s coffee growing areas north of the Central Highlands region.
The Philippines had suffered a category 3 storm landfall on Sunday night, which claimed the lives of at least 8 people and had about 74,000 sheltered in evacuation centres, while many more were stranded without electricity.
Footage from a local broadcaster showed police personnel clearing fallen trees that were blocking roads in Quezon province, and residents sorting through debris and rubble with their hands.
Aid workers distributed relief packages and food in coastal communities, according to footage broadcast on DZRH’s YouTube channel.
Typhoon Noru, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, also damaged 1.53 billion pesos ($26 million) worth of crops, government data showed.
“There are still areas with floods,” Daniel Fernando, governor of Bulacan province north of the capital, told DZRH. Fields of rice almost ready for harvest were damaged beyond recovery, he added.