(AP) Tropical storm Wutip lashed central Vietnam on Monday after sinking at least two Chinese fishing boats near the Paracel Islands, leaving 75 fishermen missing, officials said.
The storm uprooted trees, cut power lines and damaged more than 1,000 houses. There was no immediate word of injuries, flooding or major structural damage.
Vietnam’s national weather center said Wutip had weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm by the time it made landfall. It was packing sustained winds of 117 kilometers (73 miles) per hour, it said.
(WSJ) HANOI–Vietnam has ordered the evacuation of more than 58,000 people from central coastal areas and called boats ashore ahead of a typhoon that is forecast to make landfall late Monday.
Packed with wind speeds of up to 149 kilometers an hour, typhoon Wutip was 170 kilometers east of the central coast at 0000 GMT and was moving west-northwest at 20 kilometers an hour, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
“We are evacuating people from coastal districts and flood-prone areas to safe shelters in higher grounds,” Ngo Duc Song with the anti-flood and storm department of Quang Binh province told The Wall Street Journal.
Quang Binh province is about a seven and a half hour drive south from Hanoi. The province alone was evacuating 27,148 people, mostly elderly, women and children, on Monday morning, he said. In addition, all schools in Quang Binh were closed.
Wutip, the 10th storm or typhoon hitting Vietnam this year, is forecast to hit the shores of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces Monday evening, with winds expected to subside to between 62 kilometers an hour and 74 kilometers an hour, the forecasting center said in a statement.
Provincial authorities in central Vietnam have ordered 61,202 fishing boats and ships with 302,938 crewmembers ashore or to move from the dangerous zone, according to the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control.
Each year, Vietnam is hit by around a dozen tropical storms and typhoons, which often deliver heavy rains and floods. Storms and floods last year killed 258 people in Vietnam, up from 234 people in 2011.
“Rains are intensifying at the moment and water levels at local rivers are rising, threatening to cause floods,” Mr. Song said.
But nobody knew any of that until four years ago.
A local man discovered the cave entrance in 1991, but British cavers were the first to explore it in 2009. Now, tour company Oxalis is running trial tours of the cave and accepting sign-ups for real six-day tours to take place next year.
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