HANOI, Sept 27 (From AFP) - Typhoon Damrey on Tuesday barreled into the east coast of Vietnam, where officials evacuated 300,000 people after the storm tore a path of destruction through neighbouring China. The epicentre of the powerful storm, which left at least nine people dead in southwest China on Monday, hit Thanh Hoa province with winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour, a government weather spokesman said. In Thanh Hoa and neighbouring Nam Dinh, the storm quickly destroyed some of the protective dykes that have already taken a battering by an unusually tough season of tropical storms, the official said. "The priority is to evacuate people in danger and then to reinforce the dykes," said Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai. Authorities mobilized 30,000 troops and police and moved some 300,000 people before the storm, which was expected to hit several northern and central Vietnamese provinces. "Damrey is the most powerful typhoon to hit Vietnam in several years," said the official. "It's the biggest (ever) campaign to evacuate people in the face of a violent typhoon in Vietnam." Damrey, whose name means elephant in Cambodian, on Monday brought 15 hours of raging winds and rains to the Chinese province of Hainan, where it destroyed homes, stranded travellers and left much of the island without electricity. China's civil affairs ministry, in a preliminary report, put damage at just 1.6 million dollars. But the China Daily estimated losses as high as 1.2 billion dollars, citing widespread damage to rice, rubber and banana crops as well as the destruction or damage of at least 10,000 homes. Extensive damage to Hainan's electrical grid would also require costly repairs, while the island's oil industry was facing damages to facilities and potential cut backs in production, press reports said. Chinese officials remained cautious about the death toll, while power companies were working to restore electricity. Some 3.9 million residents of Hainan and another 1.8 million people in Guangdong to the north were affected by the storm, the civil affairs ministry said. A total of 287,000 people were evacuated to safer areas. The central government ordered emergency and rescue procedures to begin immediately, and some 500 tents have been airlifted to the hardest hit areas, said the ministry. Press reports said the storm was the biggest to hit Hainan in 30 years. Residents of Guangdong's coastal county of Xuwen said it was the strongest storm to hit their area in 60 years.
YEN BAI, Vietnam, Sept 29 (From AFP) - Northern Vietnam was reeling Thursday from the aftermath of Typhoon Damrey which triggered landslides and flooding that left at least 57 people dead and caused widespread destruction. Most of the dead were in the mountainous province of Yen Bai where the typhoon caused flash floods, and a major rescue operation was under way. "We have recovered the bodies of 25 victims," said provincial flood control official Nguyen Dinh Vo in Yen Bai City, northwest of Hanoi. Many bodies were still inaccessible, he said, adding that in all 51 people had died in the province. At least six other deaths have been recorded in northern provinces from the typhoon which struck Vietnam Tuesday before blowing itself out over Laos and Thailand on Wednesday. The typhoon, packing winds of 200 kilometres per hour, left at least 96 people dead during its week-long sweep through East Asia - 57 in Vietnam, 16 in the Philippines, 16 in China and seven in Thailand. In addition, a suspected cholera outbreak in the typhoon-hit eastern Philippines had killed nine people with nearly 200 hospitalised, a military official in Legaspi city said. Vietnamese officials said the violent storm destroyed more than 10,000 houses and smashed through 54 kilometres of dykes. Some 200 schools and 45 medical clinics also suffered damage. In one district in Yen Bai province alone, at least 44 people were reported dead. Scenes of utter devastation were in evidence at Cat Thinh commune, in Van Chan district, 50 kilometres from Yen Bai, with some 28 houses mostly of Meo and Dao ethnic minority people having been swept away. Infrastructure including power and communications was disrupted, with roads washed away and the whole commune covered in muddy sludge.
Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanographic Center typhoon track
Envisat views of Typhoon Damrey
This Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) Level 1 image shows Typhoon Damrey (centre right image), located north east of Hainan Island. The coastlines have been highlighted red to define their locations.
This Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) Level 1 image shows the latest view of Typhoon Damrey. The Typhoon is visible in centre right of the image, and is located over northern Vietnam. The coastlines have been highlighted red to define their locations.
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