Typhoon Sarika moved off the coast of the main Philippine island of Luzon and headed toward Vietnam, where at least 15 people have already been killed in flooding caused by days of torrential rain.
The powerful storm, known locally in the Philippines as Karen, had intensified as it entered the South China Sea, with sustained winds of about 175 kilometers (110 miles) an hour, and was traveling westward at 24 kilometers an hour, according to the government’s weather agency.
The Philippine disaster agency said at least two people died as a result of the typhoon, which knocked out power, tore the roofs off houses, toppled trees and cut off villages as it crossed a heavily agricultural area of Luzon. About 200 flights have been canceled since Saturday night, while thousands of people were stranded in various seaports because of rough seas.
Sarika dumped the equivalent of a month’s rain in some areas of the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte was proceeding with his scheduled trip to Brunei on Sunday, the government said. From there, Mr. Duterte will travel to China.
Weather bureau Pagasa said another tropical cyclone, Haima, was expected to reach the far north of the Philippine archipelago late Wednesday or early Thursday, and could follow the track of Sarika. On Sunday, Haima, set to be known locally as Lawin, had sustained winds of 105 kilometers an hour at its center but the storm could intensify as it moves across the Pacific Ocean.
In central Vietnam, a tropical low pressure event last week triggered heavy rain in several coastal provinces, with amounts ranging from 300 to 900 millimeters (1 to 3 feet) over the past three days, the Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said Sunday.
Quang Binh province suffered the heaviest casualties, with nine people, including two children, reported dead, most from drowning, the department said. In all, at least 15 people were killed and nine others were missing, it said.
The floods inundated about 100,000 houses and more than 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) of rice and other crops, and damaged roads and bridges, it said, adding that roads to several villages were cut off.
Local media reports said the floods were the worst in central Vietnam since 2011, when nearly 60 people were killed.
The rain subsided Sunday but officials warned of more floods as Typhoon Sarika headed into the South China Sea.
The storm was forecast to be about 350 kilometers (217 miles) east of the Paracel Islands by Sunday night local time, the department said.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung late Saturday called on provinces in central Vietnam to mobilize forces to search for missing people and work out evacuation plans before the typhoon makes landfall.
Flooding in Vietnam Endangering Lives
Northern central provinces are making utmost efforts to deal with severe floods that have led to widespread damage over the last few days.
The standing board of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control had a meeting on October 16 to direct flood response in the region.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang, who is also deputy head of the committee’s standing board, asked the affected localities to keep a close watch on the rainfall and flood situation, expeditiously search for the missing and repair roads, and evacuate people in areas prone to flash flood and landslides.
Reservoirs must be examined while their release of water must ensure the safety for residents in lower areas. They must also keep an eye on typhoon Sarika, which has entered the East Sea on October 16 morning, and informed vehicles working at sea about it, he added.
Heavy rains and floods in the region, including Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, have claimed 15 lives and injured 18 people while nine others went missing.
Nearly 100,400 houses, 1,600ha of rice and over 3,000ha of aquatic farming areas have been inundated with floodwater. Thirty-six positions on national roads have been under water or eroded, leading to traffic congestion, according to the committee’s standing office.
On late October 15, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung led a delegation of the central steering committee and the National Committee for Search and Rescue to Quang Binh to steer response activities.
From October 13-15, the province recorded a rainfall of between 600-900mm, especially up to 920mm in Dong Hoi city and 950mm in Ham Ninh commune, triggering widespread floods, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Hoai said, adding that Quang Binh suspended all meetings to focus on coping with the deluge, including evacuation and food and water delivery to flood-hit areas.
Also on October 15, a Prime Minister document was sent to the affected provinces and relevant ministries to farm out specific tasks and urge them to make all-out efforts to handle the flood.
It said that due to a concurrent tropical depression and cold spell, downpours with rainfall of between 300-400mm were reported in the provinces from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue from October 12. Flood levels in downstream rivers continue rising, and there is high risks of flash flood and landslide in mountainous areas.
In the face of the serious flood damage, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Red Cross Society has decided to provide initial emergency relief worth 1.97 billion VND (over 88,600 USD) in cash and goods for Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.-VNA
Tags: Civil defense officials in Vietnam apparently opened a dam without warning the the Vietnamese population downstream killing several people, Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, Duterte, Ha Tinh, Philippine, President Rodrigo Duterte, Quang Binh, South China Sea, Typhoon Karin, Typhoon Sarika