Tropical Storm Noul pounds Vietnam; one dead, dozens injured

Authorities evacuate more than one million people across three central provinces, shut down all airports in the region.

At least one person has died and dozens have been injured as Tropical Storm Noul pounded Vietnam, unleashing heavy rains and high winds on the country’s central coastal region.

Images on state-run Vietnam Television on Friday showed damaged houses and trees, with power poles pulled from the ground as Vietnam’s biggest storm of the year made landfall in Hue, the country’s old imperial capital.

On Thursday, authorities said more than one million people across three central provinces as well as the city of Danang would be evacuated.

At least one person was killed and dozens others injured, state media reported, as 90km/h (56mph) winds struck.

“It was scary as the wind was so strong when the storm arrived,” said Nguyen Xuan Vu, who lives in Hue.

“So many trees are down. Our city looks in bad shape,” Vu told AFP news agency.

All airports in central Vietnam remain closed while a ban on fishing vessels has been in place since Thursday. Electricity has been completely cut off in Thua Thien Hue province.

Late on Friday, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression, according to Vietnamese forecasters.

Vietnam is routinely hit by tropical storms from around May to October, with its central coast affected most frequently.

Meanwhile, seven people died in a lightning strike in neighbouring Cambodia.

The lightning struck a wooden stilt house under which people were eating in Cambodia’s northwestern Battambang province on Thursday evening. The dead included a family of four and three other relatives, said Keo Vy, the spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Separately, the Meteorological Department in Thailand issued a warning on Friday saying rains from the Noul will cover every part of the country, especially northern and northeastern provinces.

Local media reported heavy rain and flooding in Khon Kaen province on Friday morning.

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