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News > World

Devastating Typhoon Tembin Downgraded, Vietnam Spared

  • Vietnamese authorities made preparations to evacuate up to 1 million people.

    Vietnamese authorities made preparations to evacuate up to 1 million people. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 December 2017
Opinion

Vietnamese authorities said about 74,000 people were moved from vulnerable areas as authorities made preparations to relocate up to 1 million.

Vietnam has been spared a direct hit from major Typhoon Tembin. The storm caused deadly landslides and flash floods in the Philippines, leaving more than 160 people dead and many more missing.

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Philippines Storm Death Toll Rises to 133, Hundreds Missing

The country's disaster prevention committee said 74,000 people were moved from vulnerable areas as authorities made preparations to evacuate up to 1 million.

Heavy rain and strong winds were expected on Monday night after forecasters predicted that the southern region of Mekong Delta would be in Tembin's path. The Vietnamese government issued orders to have oil rigs and vessels secured. Warnings were issued for 62,000 fishing boats to remain landlocked.

"Vietnam must ensure the safety of its oil rigs and vessels. If necessary, close the oil rigs and evacuate workers," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was quoted as saying on a government website.

Schools were also ordered to close in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

The storm is expected to dissipate over the Gulf of Thailand late Tuesday and not make landfall in Vietnam, after being downgraded to a tropical depression earlier. Tembin would have been the 16th major storm to hit Vietnam this year.

The country is no stranger to disastrous storms. In 1997, Tropical Storm Linda served a devastating blow to Vietnam when it wreaked havoc on the delta and claimed the lives of over 700 people and left over 2,000 missing.

Tembin struck the Philippines as a tropical storm but strengthened into a typhoon.

In the Philippines, almost 200,000 people are either being housed in shelters or have otherwise been displaced by the storm, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported.

According to Romina Marasigan from the Philippine government's main disaster-response agency, officials had warned villagers in disaster-prone areas to evacuate early.

"We don't want to be dragging people out of their homes days before Christmas, but it's best to convince them to quietly understand the importance of why they are being evacuated," Marasigan said, in a press conference, explaining the challenges of the evacuation process.

Health worker Arturo Simbajon said nearly the entire coastal village of Anungan on the Zamboanga Peninsula of Mindanao island in the Philippines had been wiped out.

"Only the mosque was left standing," Simbajon said. "People were watching the rising sea but did not expect the water to come from behind them."

Head of regional disaster agency, Manuel Luis Ochotorena, said he expected the death toll to rise. "Many areas in Zamboanga peninsula are still without power and communications, some towns are cut off due to collapsed bridges, floods and landslides," he explained.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons a year. In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan killed nearly 8,000 people and left 200,000 families homeless.

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