Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from central Vietnam’s coastal provinces in anticipation of Typhoon Haiyan, which has left up to 10,000 people dead in the Philippines after pounding the country with the strongest winds ever recorded, Vietnamese media reported.
The storm brought wind speeds of more than 350 kph at its height leaving the devastated Philippines to face a massive cleanup operation, and though its strength has already reduced considerably, Vietnamese officials are predicting widespread damage, while Cambodia is bracing itself for heavy rain brought by the storm’s tail end.
Despite weakening, Bui Minh Tang, director of Vietnam’s National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, said that Typhoon Haiyan may be the strongest storm that has ever made landfall in Vietnam, according to Thanh Nien news.
Two recent typhoons, Wutip and Nari, both also weakened to category one storms but nonetheless brought heavy rainstorms to northeastern provinces in Cambodia that were already affected by a month of severe flooding.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology issued a warning on Friday about the approaching storm and officials Sunday said they were concerned that Typhoon Haiyan could cause fresh flooding to provinces that are still struggling to recover from the damage caused by last month’s floods.
Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Ratanakkiri, Mondolkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces are expected to feel the brunt of the storm and local officials Sunday said they were nervously monitoring its progress.
“Stung Treng Province has darkened skies and minor storms already—that is a sign to be careful, but warnings have been issued on the radio for people to know of the danger,” said Tuy Chandara, deputy director of Stung Treng’s department of water resources and meteorology.