Vietnam has started evacuating over 100,000 people from the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan, state media said on Saturday. The super storm slammed across Philippines, leaving more than hundred people dead and causing massive destructions.Nearly 750,000 people were forced to flee their homes and damage was believed to be extensive.
Weather officials said Haiyan had sustained winds of 235 kph (147 mph) with gusts of 275 kph (170 mph) when it made landfall. By those measurements, Haiyan would be comparable to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the US, nearly in the top category, a 5.
Haiyan hit Philippines on Friday with maximum sustained winds of about 315 kilometres an hour. It is expected to make landfall in central Vietnam early Sunday.
Authorities have begun mass evacuations in central Danang and Quang Ngai provinces, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said, as the country goes on high alert in the face of the massive storm, reports AFP.
Many schools in the affected area have closed and people from vulnerable low-lying coastal villages are moving to temporary typhoon shelters set up in public buildings on high ground, state media said.
Although Haiyan is expected to weaken slightly, it is still considered a super typhoon with the potential for "complicated developments", said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at an urgent meeting Friday.
Haiyan is expected to make landfall in central Vietnam early Sunday
Dung, who is personally overseeing preparations for the super typhoon, has called all Vietnamese vessels back to shore and ordered hydropower reservoirs to step-up safety measures "to limit the consequences in terms of human and materials", a notice posted on the government's official website said.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has advised passengers to be prepared for flights to be interrupted or cancelled on Sunday.
The scale of the damage wrought by Haiyan in the Philippines was still emerging Saturday, with many of the worst-hit towns cut off from communications, but early reports suggested mass casualties.
Over a hundred bodies were visible around the airport in Tacloban, the capital of eastern island of Leyte, according to aviation authorities.
Huge waves whipped up by Haiyan were believed to have been one of the main causes for the deaths in Tacloban and the nearby coastal town of Palo, while communities across the central Philippines also believed to have suffered serious damage.
(With agency inputs)