Storm Sonca makes landfall in Quang Tri, downgraded to tropical depression

Tuesday, 2017-07-25 17:23:19
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Boats anchored at Quang Nham fishing port, central Thanh Hoa province’s Quang Xuong district. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO – Storm Sonca, the fourth large-scale storm to hit the East Sea this year, made landfall in the northern part of the central province of Quang Tri on July 25 afternoon and downgraded to a tropical depression, according to the latest information from the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF).

>>> Localities brace for fourth storm in East Sea

As of 4pm on Tuesday, the storm’s centre was located at approximately 17 degrees north latitude and 106.8 degrees east longitude, right on the areas of Quang Binh-Quang Tri provinces, with strongest winds in the eye of the storm recorded at 50-60kph.

The State meteorological agency forecast that in the next 12 hours, the typhoon will move mainly to the west-north west at about 15kph and weaken into a tropical depression. By 1am on July 26, the tropical depression will be centred at about 17.5 degrees north latitude and 105.3 degrees east longitude, in Central Laos. The strongest wind of the tropical low pressure will be at about 40-50kph.

To deal with the storm, the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention and Control this morning held an online meeting with six central provinces, including Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, to discuss specific measures.

At the meeting, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, who is also head of the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control, proposed mobilising all forces to respond to Sonca and continuing to implement joint Telegraph No. 29 by the Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control and the National Committee for Search and Rescue.

A satellite photo on the development of Sonca. (Credit: NCHMF)

He urged the NCHMF to update and issue forecasts and warnings on the storm. Vietnam News Agency, Vietnam Television, Radio the Voice of Vietnam and press agencies should increase their coverage on the storm and disseminate information on skills for flood and storm response measures to prevent and mitigate damage. Concerned ministries and functional agencies shall direct and assist localities in responding to the storm (especially the electricity, transport, border guard and security forces).

Minister Cuong required related agencies and units to implement plans to ensure safety for local people and their properties, while evacuating people on aquaculture farms and low-lying coastal areas to safety (especially in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces – areas directly hit by the storm), as well as resolutely urging fishing vessels to head to shelter and preparing all means and forces to deal with emergency situations.

Sonca directly affected the Northern-Central provinces from Ha Tinh to Quang Tri. Earlier, this area was seriously damaged by Storm Talas in mid-July and is undergoing restoration of production and infrastructure.

At the online meeting, representatives from Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Nghe An said that they have directed forces to be ready round-the-clock to respond to the storm. Ha Tinh ordered a sea ban as of 6pm yesterday; Nghe An halted the search for two missing crew members on board VTB26, a ship which sank after Storm Talas; Quang Tri also banned ships from going out to sea as of 2pm yesterday and triggered a scenario of displacement of people in vulnerable areas with flash floods and landslides. At present, there are 18 fishing vessels in Quang Tri which are yet to reach the shore; functional forces have also kept in touch and guided them to shelters in Quang Nam and Da Nang.

Quang Binh fishing vessels head to storm shelter along Nhat Le River, Dong Hoi city. (Credit: NDO)

According to Report No. 261 dated July 25 by the Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue under the Border Guard Command, as of 6am this morning, coastal provinces from Quang Ninh to Khanh Hoa have informed 72,070 vessels with 287,407 employees on board of the direction of Sonca in order to avoid dangerous areas.

On the same day, to ensure flight safety, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) and VASCO Airlines (OV) adjusted their operation plans at the central airports of Tho Xuan (Thanh Hoa), Vinh (Nghe An) and Dong Hoi (Quang Binh) on July 25.

VNA has so far cancelled 11 flights to/from Phu Bai Airport (Hue) on Tuesday. To assist passengers on these flights, VNA will exchange free tickets to/from Da Nang on July 25, as requested by passengers. At the same time, the airlines will also launch a complementary compensation plan and convert passengers free of charge to flights on July 26.

Jetstar Pacific Airlines (JPA) has terminated four flights between Ho Chi Minh City - Thanh Hoa and between Ho Chi Minh City - Dong Hoi. JPA has also adjusted the time of several other flights in accordance with weather conditions to ensure flight safety.

The airlines also recommend passengers planning to arrive/depart airports in the central region (Tho Xuan, Vinh, Dong Hoi, Phu Bai) during this period to regularly monitor the weather situation and stay up-to-date with information from relevant airlines to actively adjust travel schedule.

Farmers in Nga Giap commune, Nga Son district, Thanh Hoa province reinforce aquaculture ponds. (Credit: NDO)