HANOI - AFP
Thousands flee as Typhoon Vamco nears Vietnam

Thousands of people fled their homes in Vietnam on Saturday (Nov 14)
as Typhoon Vamco barrelled towards central regions already pummelled by
weeks of successive storms. 
Airports have been shut, beaches
closed and a fishing ban put in place, as the country braces for winds
of up to 100kmh when the typhoon makes landfall on Sunday, likely close
to Hue.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in four
central provinces, according to the disaster management authority, while
state media said hundreds of thousands more may have to flee.
A
series of storms have hit central Vietnam over the past six weeks,
causing flooding and landslides that have killed at least 159 people,
authorities said, while 70 others are missing.
The severe weather has also damaged or destroyed more than 400,000
homes, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies.
Roads and bridges have been washed away, power supplies disrupted,
and crucial food crops destroyed, leaving at least 150,000 people at
immediate risk of food shortages, it added.
"There has been no
respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam,"
said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, Vietnam Red Cross Society President.
"Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm."
Typhoon Vamco has already caused devastation in the Philippines.
Emergency
response teams were dispatched to the northeast on Saturday where more
than 340,000 people have been affected by severe flooding following
Vamco that killed at least 33 people across the country, disaster
agencies said.
Twenty of the deaths were recorded in the provinces
of Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, which have become the focus of
rescue efforts.
Hundreds of people were trapped on rooftops in the
hardest-hit areas along the Cagayan river with rescuers unable to reach
them due to the strong current, said the spokesman for the regional
Office of Civil Defense.
Vast swathes of the region were under water in what officials have described as the worst flooding in living memory.
The release of water from Magat dam has exacerbated the impact.

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