Vietnam suffers 14 deaths, but spared the worst of Typhoon Haiyan

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Felled trees and electric wires lay strewn about in a street in Quang Ninh Province's Ha Long Town, after typhoon Haiyan hit the area early this morning. Photo by Thuy Hang

Super Typhoon Haiyan left Vietnam on Monday morning, but not before causing 14 deaths and damage to many localities in the central and northern regions.

The worst hit area was Quang Ninh Province, where the storm's epicenter struck at 5 a.m.

In Quang Ninh's Ha Long Town, home to the world-renowned Ha Long Bay, winds accompanied by heavy rains reached up to 102 kilometers per hour (kph) at 2:30 a.m.

By 4:45 a.m., the rains had reduced and the winds had slowed to 39-61 kph.

Strong winds caused many trees to uproot and fall, and electric wires to break.

Billboards and metal roofs came crashing down into the streets, while houses and other structures sustained partial damage.

"The winds were so strong last night. My family had to hide in our house's basement since the roof was blown off," said Hoa, a resident of Ha Long's Bai Chay Ward.

Haiyan entered the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, on Friday evening, after sweeping through the central Philippines, causing massive destruction and an estimated 10,000 fatalities.

Meteorologists said it is the strongest storm of the year and one of the most powerful to reach land in recorded history.

It forced more than two million people living in typhoon-prone areas in both the Philippines and central and northern Vietnam to evacuate.

Reported destruction

The storm caused power outages in several areas of Nam Dinh, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and Thai Binh provinces.

According to a report issued late Monday by the National Committee of Search and Rescue, at least 14 people in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien-Hue were killed, four have been reported missing and 82 other people in those provinces, as well as Nghe An and Quang Ninh, were injured.

The injuries most commonly occurred as residents were attempting to protect their homes with reinforcements and cutting trees in preparation for the storm.

Tens of thousands of hectares (one hectare = 2.2 acres) of crops were damaged in Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Quang Ninh and Thai Binh .

Many houses in Quang Ninh, Quang Ngai and Phu Yen collapsed or became unroofed, according to a report issued this morning by the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control.

Many boats and rafts in Phu Yen, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh were wrecked or sank. A telecommunications tower belonging to Uong Bi Television in Quang Ninh also fell, the committee reported.

The Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control this morning also reported many cases of damaged houseboats, rafts and houses in Quang Ninh; landslides and more than 34,000 hectares of damaged crops in Thai Binh.

But no deaths were recorded in Quang Ninh as of 4:30 a.m., in Hai Phong as of 4 a.m. and in Thai Binh as of 6 a.m.

Other northeastern Vietnamese locales like Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong and Lang Son experienced medium to heavy rains and strong winds, but so far, there have been no reports of casualties or property losses.

Haiyan's path

According to Vietnam's National Center for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting, the storm centered in the border between China and Vietnam at 9 a.m.

It moved toward the southern end of China's Guangxi Province at 11 a.m., with estimated winds of 62-74 kph and gusts up to 102 kph.

The center predicted that within the next 24 hours, the storm will move northeast, deep into Guangxi Province, at speeds of 15-20 kph, before calming to a tropical depression and then a low-pressure front.

Parts of northeast Vietnam, especially the Co To District of Quang Ninh and Bach Long Vi and Cat Hai districts of Hai Phong, are expected to continue experiencing strong winds through Monday afternoon.

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