Vietnam has warned of potential flooding while downgrading Typhoon Noru to a tropical storm after it crossed the coast of central Vietnam close to Danang, the country’s third-biggest city.
High-rise buildings shook in strong winds that toppled trees and tore the roofs from homes across the central region, and widespread power cuts were reported.
Wind speeds were expected to reach 183km/h (114 mph) late on Tuesday, but were weaker than initially feared. Still, forecasters said heavy rain would continue during the day and warned of landslides and serious flooding.
Almost half of Vietnam’s airports were shut, and schools, shops and offices in several central provinces — including Danang — were closed as a result of the storm. Curfews were also imposed in some areas.
Nearly 260,000 people were evacuated from their homes, including in the popular tourist city of Hoi An, where residents took shelter in a primary school.
“I wanted to leave. My house is not very strong. I am afraid its roof might be blown away when the typhoon hits,” Huynh Mua told the AFP news agency, clutching a plastic bag full of clothes, a blanket and several packets of instant noodles.
The defence ministry mobilised thousands of military personnel, equipped with armoured vehicles and boats, in preparation for rescue and relief operations, according to state media.
Noru swept across the Philippines on Sunday and Monday, where at least eight people were killed, and villages and farmland flooded.