Haima typhoon triggers deadly whirlwind in northern Vietnam

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A whirlwind triggered by the Haima typhoon as it approached Vietnam Thursday killed two and injured 79 others in the northern city of Hai Phong, according to the national flood and storm control agency.


The spinning column of air also damaged over 1,000 houses in the city's An Lu Commune, Thuy Nguyen District, the Central Steering Committee for Floods and Storms Prevention said in a report posted on its website Friday.


Le Minh Luat, secretary of Thuy Nguyen's Party Unit, told Thanh Nien that the whirlwind swept the commune at around 5.20 p.m..


One of the victims was a 25-year-old pregnant woman who was killed by a falling tree, Luat said, adding that more than half of victims sustained serious injuries.


The typhoon, which strengthened from a tropical depression in the East Sea earlier this week, also brought storms and whirlwinds to Quynh Luu district in the central province of Nghe An Friday night, according to the committee.


Estimates of local damages and losses were not available at the time of reporting.


Before it entered the waters of Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf, Haima had already triggered heavy rains and flash floods in the northern province of Yen Bai on Wednesday, sweeping away four locals who were fishing at a spring.


The committee said in its latest report that rescuers had found one body and the three others were still missing.


According to the National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center, Haima will move to the coast of the northern provinces of Quang Ninh and Hai Phong before heading to Thai Binh and Ninh Binh provinces, also in the northern region.


The center forecast rough seas, strong winds and heavy rains in the northern and central provinces within the next few days.


Meanwhile, affected localities have acted to issue warnings to locals and fishing boats.


In other news, locals and officials in the central province of Quang Nam have reported that several localities have experienced  tremors recently.


Dinh Hong Viet, chairman of Tra Giac District's People's Committee, told Thanh Nien that the district as been hit by tremors some 20 times over the past three months.


The latest one lasted over two seconds at around 6 p.m. Wednesday following a blasting noise in the area around the Chop Nop Mountain, making forests and houses tremble, locals said.


The phenomenon was also reported in adjacent communes of Tra Tan and Tra Bui.


Nguyen Duy Khanh, secretary of Tan Tan Commune's Party Unit, said the tremors happened randomly, night or day, adding that there were times it happened up to three times a week.


Some local houses have developed cracks, he said.


Many people said they suspected the phenomenon was happening due to seismic changes caused by holes dug by illegal mineral miners. They noted that the tremors were happening in localities where illegal logging and mining operations were rampant.


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