Saigon evacuates 4,000 coastal residents as Storm Damrey nears

By Thanh Nguyen   November 4, 2017 | 08:25 am GMT+7

Residents of the city's coastal district of Can Gio were evacuated on Friday evening before the storm makes landfall on Saturday.

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Authorities in Can Gio District's Can Thanh Town on Friday evening evacuated more than 250 households with over 1,000 residents to keep them safe from the effects of Storm Damrey. Children and the elderly were evacuated to schools in the district by bus.

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Town officials visited each and every house to urge residents to move to safe areas. Those living in temporary shelters that could not withstand the storm were given priority.

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Before leaving his house, Nguyen Van Hung from Hung Thanh Residential Neighborhood burned some incense to pray for peace and pray that his family and his neighbors would not be affected by the storm.

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"I have hearing loss so did not know that officials had been calling to tell us to evacuate since morning. Only when officials personally came to urge me did I learn about it," Ngo Thi Phuoc, 87, said while hurriedly packing her personal belongings.

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Nguyen Thi Kim Anh from Hung Thanh Residential Neighborhood and her family pack blankets to bring with them to the evacuation area.

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Due to old age, poor health and living alone, Nguyen Thi Bau, 80, was personally escorted to safety by town officials.

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Can Gio District's border guards persuade a group of locals to evacuate. The mass evacuation was mostly completed by 8 p.m.

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Nguyen Thi Cam Binh from Can Thanh Town's Neighborhood 9 carries her four-month-old granddaughter Khe Linh on the evacuation bus. "She's too small and her parents are busy working so we have to go together," she said.

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"I only brought documents and a few sets of clothes to wear while waiting out the storm," Nguyen Thi Phung, 79, said.

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Evacuated residents rest on hammocks set up in a corridor at Can Thanh High School.

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The school's hall was turned into as a sleeping room for children and the elderly during the storm.

Leaders of Can Gio District said they had completed evacuating nearly 4,000 people to safe areas. More than 1,500 officers and soldiers are also on duty 24/24, ready to deal with any situation that might arise. Residents on Thanh An Island would also be evacuated to the mainland if the storm starts showing signs of heading toward it.

Additionally, the district has banned all ships from setting sail, effective from 1 a.m. on Friday until further notice.