Vietnam was bracing for Typhoon Vamco to make landfall in the country’s central coast early today, as the death toll in the Philippines rose to 53 from that country’s deadliest storm this year.
Packing winds of up to 165kph, Vamco is forecast to hit a swathe of Vietnam’s coast from Ha Tinh province to Quang Ngai province, the government’s weather agency said yesterday.
“This is a very strong typhoon,” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, warning provinces in Vamco’s projected path to prepare for its impact.
The provinces planned to evacuate 468,000 people by yesterday night, state media cited the government’s disaster management authority as saying.
Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco would be the 13th storm that affects the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early last month.
“There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam,” Vietnam Red Cross Society president Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said. “Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm.”
In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies yesterday scrambled to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday.
Dozens of towns in the Cagayan Valley, a region with 1.2 million inhabitants north of the capital Manila remain submerged, affecting thousands of families, some of whom fled to rooftops to escape two-story high floods, officials said.
The coast guard yesterday sent teams of rescue personnel, vehicles and rubber boats to Tuguegarao City, and would bring in more help from nearby provinces, Philippine Coast Guard Commandant George Ursabia said.
“We believe it would take more than a week before the floods subside” if there is no further rain, Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano told Philippine media.
Access to the city, home to 163,000 people, was cut due to flooded roads, he said.
Residents took to social media, posting photos and addresses with pleas for rescue. The hashtag “#CagayanNeedsHelp” was the top-trending topic on Twitter with 2.03 million tweets.
“We’re already on the third day atop our roof. We need relief goods and clothing because we saved nothing,” said Ramilo Lagundi, a resident in the city, adding that hundreds of his neighbors were also staying on their rooftops.
Vamco has killed at least 53 people, injured 52 and left 22 missing in the Philippines, the Philippine police and army said.
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