Vietnam is preparing to evacuate 1.3 million people ahead of Typhoon Molave, which is expected to make landfall on Wednesday.
Typhoon Molave, with wind speeds of 125 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph, left the main Philippine island of Luzon earlier on Monday, with heavy rain causing seven landslides and floods in 11 areas, the disaster agency said.
It will be the fourth storm to hit Vietnam in a tumultuous month, during which floods and landslides have killed 130 people and left 20 missing in the central region. When Molave makes landfall, wind speeds are forecast to reach 135 kph.
“This is a very strong typhoon that will impact a large area,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, urging provinces and cities in Molave’s path to prepare for its impact.
Phuc compared Molave to Typhoon Damrey in 2017, which killed more than 100 people in central Vietnam. He ordered boats ashore and told the security forces to get ready.
“Troops must deploy full force to support people, including mobilizing helicopters, tanks and other means of transportation if needed,” Phuc said in a statement.
Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. About 11.8 million people in Vietnam’s costal provinces are exposed to the threat of intense flooding, with 35% of settlements located on crowded and eroding coastlines, a World Bank report said last week.
October is rainy season in Vietnam, but for weeks the country has been hit by particularly poor weather which has impacted agriculture, irrigation, and transport.
The region as a whole has suffered particularly heavy rainfall amid the onset of a La Nina weather system, which is characterized by unusually cold temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Earlier this month, tropical storm Nangka left scores of people dead, missing and displaced in Vietnam and Cambodia. Almost immediately afterward, tropical storm Saudel lashed the Philippines, causing flooding and forcing thousands to evacuate, before heading for Vietnam.
Typhoon Molave killed at least nine people, while 13 were missing in the Philippines, according to disaster-response officials, before heading over to the South China Sea on its way to Vietnam.