Typhoon Doksuri pummels central Vietnamese coast, killing four
At least four people have been killed after Typhoon Doksuri hit central Vietnam, with heavy rain and strong wind ripping off roofs and knocking over electricity poles.
With maximum sustained winds of 135kph, the typhoon made landfall in Ha Tinh province on Friday, pounding six coastal districts and destroying the roofs of 62,500 houses, disaster official Ngo Duc Hoi said.
In the neighbouring province of Quang Binh, farther south, a man fell to his death when he tried to reinforce his house and an elderly man fell to the ground in his yard and died of head injuries. Ten people were injured by falling trees or debris.
Tran Xuan Binh, a disaster official in Nghe An province, north of Ha Tinh, said an 83-year-old woman died after being hit by falling debris, while in Thua Thien Hue province, south of Quang Binh, a man died in a swollen river.
About 123,000 homes were damaged and trees and powerlines torn down in five hardhit provinces, the national disaster agency said. Blackouts were widespread and technicians tried to restore power as flooding was reported in some villages.
As of early Friday, 79,000 villagers in high-risk areas in five central provinces had been moved and another 210,000 were to be shifted to safety before the typhoon hit.
About 40 flights were cancelled between the capital, Hanoi, in northern Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.
Shaken residents were putting their homes and businesses back together yesterday after waking up to the widespread destruction in normally idyllic coastal communities, which popular among beach-loving tourists.
“I sat inside my house covering my ears. I didn’t dare leave I was so scared,” said Mai Thi Tinh, whose restaurant in Ha Tinh province was completely destroyed.
“The power is still off so we can’t do anything. I don’t know how long it will take to recover.”
Prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited the hard-hit province yesterday to survey the damage.
“We have to quickly mobilise forces to repair houses and damaged schools. We have to ensure people can get back to normal life,” he said.
Four fishing boats were reported to have sunk in Quang Ngai province, although many fishermen had dragged their small wooden boats into the streets of coastal towns to stop them from being carried away.
Vietnam, a country of 93 million people, is prone to floods and storms that kill hundreds of people each year.
Since January, 140 people have been killed or are missing after natural disasters.
Floods in northern Vietnam last month killed 26 people and washed away hundreds of homes. Last year, meanwhile, more than 200 people were killed in storms.
But the eye of Doksuri skirted Vietnam’s most important coffee-growing areas and the rain it brought were largely seen as beneficial to the trees, coffee traders said.
Rice farmers had rushed to gather in what they could before Doksuri struck.
Doksuri swept through the Philippines on Tuesday as a less powerful tropical depression, killing at least four people and leaving another six missing.