Vietnam braces for Typhoon Vamco, 53 dead in Philippines


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© Reuters. Typhoon Vamco aftermath in Philippines

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By Khanh Vu and Neil Jerome Morales

HANOI/MANILA (Reuters) – Vietnam was bracing for Typhoon Vamco to make landfall in the country’s central coast early on Sunday, as the death toll in the Philippines rose to 53 from that country’s deadliest storm this year.

Packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph), Vamco is forecast to hit a swathe of Vietnam’s coast from Ha Tinh to Quang Ngai province, the government’s weather agency said on Saturday.

“This is a very strong typhoon,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, warning provinces in Vamco’s projected path to prepare for its impact.

The provinces plan to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, state media cited the government’s disaster management authority as saying.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco will be the 13th storm that affects the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

“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 pummelled by yet another storm.”

In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

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Vamco has killed at least 53 people, injured 52 and left 22 missing in the Philippines, according to the Philippines police and army.

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