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Ahead of the Year's Most Powerful Storm, Central Vietnam Evacuates, Sets Curfew

Provinces along the southern coast of central Vietnam are in a rush to make final preparations today ahead of a major typhoon that will make landfall tomorrow.

Over the weekend, Typhoon Molave, this storm season’s 9th to hit Vietnam, swept past the Philippines into the East Sea. As of this morning, October 27, it was around 216 kilometers to the north-northeast of the Truong Sa Archipelago with maximum wind speeds of 165 km/h, attaining level 14 on the Beaufort scale, two levels higher than yesterday.

According to Mai Văn Khiêm, director of the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, Molave is this year’s most powerful typhoon so far, and is predicted to either strengthen or retain its intensity until it reaches the mainland.

He added that from this evening, stretches of the coast near provinces from Da Nang to Phu Yen should expect strong winds and major waves of 6–8 meters tall. In the Gulf of Tonkin, waves of 4–6 meters are expected, while the southern coast from Khanh Hoa to Binh Thuan should see waves of 3–5 meters.

Since yesterday, an atmosphere of alarm has loomed over coastal provinces as local authorities and citizens hurry to prepare their community for the calamity that Molave will bring.

Da Nang recently announced that residents are not allowed to leave their home from 8pm today, October 27, until further notice. Municipal authorities are also urging owners and workers of aquaculture farms to not remain on their rafts. All civil servants and workers are to stay home on October 28. In Thua Thien-Hue, a similar curfew has also been imposed.

In Tam Ky, the capital of Quang Nam, city officials have evacuated about 9,700 people to local public schools and border posts. Provincial authorities plan to move over 172,000 people should the storm turn out to be cataclysmic.

From Monday, many members of Phu Yen’s seafood farming communities started reinforcing their rafts and trying to protect their stock by sinking lobster cages deep in the sea and covering open cages to keep the fish inside. Across the southern coastline of central Vietnam, households have been typhoon-proofing their roofs with sandbags and water bags.

Up in the air, carriers in Vietnam confirmed that flights today will be rearranged to earlier slots so that all take-offs and landings are done before 6pm. According to Vietnam Airlines, flights on October 27 will take off from 45 minutes to 5 hours and 35 minutes earlier than scheduled. The national carrier has also canceled 104 flights tomorrow to and from airports in the affected region, including Vinh, Dong Hoi, Phu Bai, Da Nang, Chu Lai, Phu Cat, Pleiku and Tuy Hoa.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam recently decided to close five airports starting from 6pm today until 4pm tomorrow: Tuy Hoa (Phu Yen), Phu Cat (Binh Dinh), Chu Lai (Quang Nam), Phu Bai (Thua Thien-Hue) and Da Nang. Pleiku Airport (Gia Lai) will also stop operating from 9pm today until 7pm tomorrow.

All trains leaving Hanoi and Saigon during the evening of October 27 and the entire October 28 are canceled.

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