VIETNAM TO EVACUATE 500,000 PEOPLE AS TYPHOON HAGIBIS NEARS
NOV 22 2007
Vietnam prepared to evacuate up to 500,000 people as Typhoon Hagibis powered toward the southern coast packing winds of up to 133 kilometers per hour (83 mph), an official said Thursday.
Thousands of Vietnamese soldiers were mobilized to help people reinforce their homes, while authorities ordered 200,000 fishermen aboard nearly 40,000 boats to return to shore, said Col. Phan Van Quang of the Border Guard Command.
Hagibis is expected to make landfall in Vietnam at the weekend.
"The typhoon is expected to hit hard in the region. So all the preparations have been done very carefully," Quang said.
Hagibis, packing winds of 133 kph, gained strength and developed into a typhoon early Thursday.
The typhoon was 600 kilometers (375 miles) east of the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday afternoon.
Floods and typhoons kill hundreds of people each year in Vietnam.
In 1997, Typhoon Linda killed nearly 500 people, most of them fishermen, and left thousands of others unaccounted for.
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