Typhoon hits central Vietnam, thousands evacuated

Ha Tinh, Vietnam: Typhoon Doksuri wreaked havoc on central Vietnam on Friday, lashing the coast with fierce winds and heavy rains as tens of thousands were evacuated and three people were reported dead in the country’s worst storm in years.
Trees and billboards were torn down and thousands of homes damaged as the storm made landfall on Friday, causing flooding and power outages along a large swathe of coastline.
“The roof of my house was blown off and all the bricks are gone. Here at my small shop, cakes, candies, bread and noodles are all wet,” Phan Thi Lan, a vendor in badly hit Ha Tinh province, said.
Roads were mostly deserted in Ha Tinh province, though emergency vehicles were seen speeding towards the coast, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. Elsewhere in the province, a large telecommunications tower collapsed, reported state-run Vietnam Television (VTV).
More than 79,000 people were evacuated across the four provinces expected to be worst affected, the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said. Those who remained in the area fled desperately for safety.
“I have never seen such a bad storm. The roof of my house was blown away and the houses of many of my neighbours were also damaged. I ran here to the petrol station,” construction worker Nguyen Van Tai said.
Vietnam’s central coast is routinely lashed by storms, especially during tropical storm season from May to October. But disaster management officials predicted that Doksuri would be the worst to hit Vietnam in a decade.
By midday Friday more than 5,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Quang Binh province, where one person was also reported killed, according to the province’s deputy chairman Le Minh Ngan, speaking on VTV.
Another man died in Hue province when a river swept him away following heavy rains, officials said. A third was killed after he was knocked over by heavy rains in Ha Tinh province, according to state media.
The storm packed wind speeds of up to 90 kilometres per hour, and was expected to weaken throughout the day as it moved toward Laos, according to the Vietnam National Hydro-meteorological Service.
— AFP