Vietnam closes airports, beaches as Storm Vamco approaches

By Staff reporters   November 13, 2020 | 07:26 pm PT
Vietnam closes airports, beaches as Storm Vamco approaches
A fisherman ties his boat to the shore in Quang Tri Province to avoid impacts from Storm Vamco, November 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.
With Storm Vamco expected to make landfall over the central region on Sunday, authorities have shut down five airports, closed public beaches and evacuated thousands of people.

At 7 a.m. on Saturday the storm was around 390 kilometers east of the coast between Da Nang and Thua Thien-Hue Province with winds of up to 165 kph, according to the National Center for Meteorological and Hydrological Forecasting.

It is moving northwest at a speed of 20 kph, and by 4 p.m. Saturday is expected to lie around 190 kilometers off the coast.

On Sunday morning it will make landfall between Ha Tinh and Quang Nam provinces with winds of 100 kph.

Between Saturday and Monday the region between Ha Tinh and Quang Nam, which also includes Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and Da Nang, will be hit by rainfall of up to 350 mm while Thanh Hoa, Nghe An to their north and Quang Ngai to their south could get up to 150 mm.

Flood and landslide warnings have been issued in the central region where at least 235 have been killed or left missing by storms and floods since last month.

Hoang Phuc Lam, deputy director of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorology and Forecasting, said Vamco’s current strength is comparable to that of last month’s Molave, one of the most powerful storms to hit ever Vietnam.

"[But] when approaching the shore, Vamco will be significantly weaker than Molave and its ability to cause strong winds is also lower because it is more affected by a cold spell."

The airports in Da Nang, Chu Lai in Quang Nam, Phu Bai in Thua Thien-Hue, Dong Hoi in Quang Binh, and Vinh in Nghe An are closed as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Nghe An, and Ha Tinh, home to many of the country’s most beautiful beaches like My Khe, Lang Co and An Bang, have closed them and banned boats from going out to sea from Friday.

Thousands of people living in low-lying areas and areas facing a high risk of landslides have been evacuated to other places to ensure safety.

All localities have urged people not to leave home from Saturday afternoon.

Vamco is the third storm in the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea, in November and 13th this year. It killed at least 42 people and left 20 others missing in the Philippines where it hit the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday, Reuters reported.

The previous storm, Etau, made landfall Tuesday morning and weakened into a tropical depression, dumping heavy rains on central provinces.

At least five people were killed in Quang Nam, Binh Dinh and Thua Thien-Hue by floods and strong winds triggered by it.

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