Vietnam Braces for Typhoon Molave After It Battered the Philippines

Authorities plan to evacuate more than 1 million people.
October 27, 2020, 7:05am
Typhoon Molave
A dog sits on a submerged concrete post after tropical storm Molave hit the town of Pola in the Philippines on Oct. 26, 2020. PHOTO: Erik DE CASTRO / AFP

Vietnam is evacuating some 1.3 million people as it gears up emergency rescue preparations for the arrival of Typhoon Molave days after it ravaged the Philippines.

Packing winds of 125 kph (77 miles), Molave moved off the Philippine island of Luzon on Monday and it is expected to make landfall in central Vietnam on Tuesday evening, according to state media.

Molave will be the fourth storm to hit Vietnam within a month and comes as the Southeast Asian country is still reeling from stronger than usual seasonal flooding and landslides that have killed at least 119 people and displaced some 90,000 residents in the central region.


This picture taken on Oct. 18, 2020 and released by the Vietnam News Agency shows military personnel searching for missing soldiers at the site of a landslide in central Vietnam's Quang Tri province. Photo: STR / Vietnam News Agency / AFP


A man pushes his scooter though a flooded street along the Dao river in central Vietnam's city of Hue on Oct. 17, 2020. Photo: Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP

Vietnam's prime minister instructed government agencies and the military to prepare for possible search and rescue missions, anticipating casualties as he compared Molave to the 2017 Typhoon Damrey that killed at least 100 people.

"Troops must deploy full force to support people, including mobilizing helicopters, tanks and other means of transportation if needed," leader Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, Reuters reported.


Flood-affected residents sit underneath a shed after Typhoon Molave hit the town of Pola, Oriental Mindoro province in the Philippines on Oct. 26, 2020. PHOTO: Erik DE CASTRO / AFP

In the Philippines, Molave brought heavy rains that caused flash floods and landslides that left three people dead and forced 150,000 people out of their homes amid the pandemic. Thirteen people were also reported missing.

Videos and photos that circulated online showed shoulder-level floods in homes and churchgoers sitting in flooded pews, while howling winds uprooted trees and damaged power and communication lines.

Power and internet outages in various parts of the Philippine capital Manila and nearby provinces prompted local authorities to suspend classes, which are mostly held online due to coronavirus restrictions.

Nestled in the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines gets about 20 typhoons annually and Molave was the 17th this year, leaving parts of the country inundated and destroying thousands of homes.

Memories of deadly superstorm Haiyan are still fresh in the minds of Filipinos after it killed more than 6,300 people in several provinces in 2013.