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More than 100,000 in Vietnam flee from Typhoon Ketsana

  • somtam2000

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    CNA is reporting that over 100,000 people have been evacuated from coastal central Vietnam in anticipation of Typhoon making landfall.

    As of 0200 GMT, Typhoon Ketsana was centred about 130km east-southeast of Da Nang and was moving west towards central Vietnam at about 12km/h.


    I'd guess this bodes ill for Hoi An which tends to flood very easily. There are also other reports that boats in Ha Long Bay are currently not running, though it is unclear if this is due to weather concerns or the sinking of a couple days back.

    #1 Posted: 29/9/2009 - 12:11

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    It's raining steadily out here in Isaan now. Been raining for hours and getting harder. Looks like we'll be in for a few days of rain.

    #2 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 01:05

  • Pablot

    Joined Travelfish
    4th May, 2009
    Posts: 102

    My answer to many questions on the weather: if you are a tourist stay AWAY from Central Vietnam during the monsoon season of September thru December! not only could your holiday be rained out but with inferior infrastructure you could be killed!

    Interestingly Central VN around Danang & Hoi An area has the most severe weather in VN! September 2006 saw the worse typhoon hit Danang in 90 years - lets see the damage this time! with increasingly severe weather in recent years could this be confirmation of a change in annual weather patterns?

    Most people in Central VN are ignoring rising sea water levels. Much of what goes on labeled as "development" simply makes the situation even worse! example, around Hoi An some roads & river embankments have been built, but they have reduced the size of the river & hence ability to drain water! nobody seems to have heard of dredging the rivers as an ongoing program to reduce flooding. Illegal fishing with permanent nets in place only make problems worse.

    Rising sea levels causes the backingup of river waters (especially during high lunar tides) which results in Hoi An being under water for a few days to a few weeks every year! think of the trash, sewage, etc.! it does not bode well for Vietnam tourism industry to have one of its major tourist attractions (and UNESCO World Heritage site!) as a potential public health problem! and where does UNESCO stand on this?

    Season for the beach, snorkelling & diving offshore in Cham Islands are now down to 4 months or less (May - August)! 1 May 2009 weather was so rough only the biggest boats could make the journey to Cham Islands!

    The infrastructure in Vietnam of roads, buildings, emergency services, etc. are really NOT capable of handling annual typhoons; 2006 typhoon proved this, and what has been done to improve? earlier warning systems and more evacuations close to the coast does not improve the capability of buildings & roads to withstand major storms!

    The biggest problem is that the Communist party is now so corrupt that at least 30%+ of all financial budgets goes missing! and the Communists are busy stamping out all dissent and therefore only making the problems worse!

    The average salary in Vietnam is about US$80 per month - how can anyone afford to feed themselves, their family and build a safe house on this? a safe house to withstand typhoons? one of the greatest debris dangers are flying tin roofing sheets - but this is all that most people in VN can afford. And since most tourists want cheap holidays this is all that most people will be able to afford for some time! this is not sustainable!

    For a foreign tourist consider the low quality infrastructure vs. price you pay. If you have any accident there are almost NO ambulances to take you to a hospital (unless you pay thru the nose for special treatment)! almost the only time a Vietnamese person travels in an ambulance is when they are dead - most Vietnamese have to catch a taxi to go to a hospital!

    Vietnam needs a major upgrade of all infrastructure if it wants to continue to grow tourism. In the last nine years I have been travelling to Vietnam I have seen China make massive improvements to infrastructure, but sadly in comparison Vietnam is falling far behind. If there is less tourism then hopefully changes must be made to attract tourism?

    #3 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 07:11

  • Pablot

    Joined Travelfish
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    Noted admin Somtam2000 comment of sinking in Halong bay: what this highlights is the lack of SAFETY AT SEA in Vietnam.

    BBC reports drowning of 5 people on a boat in Ha Long http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8277894.stm

    Unfortunately unless a foreigner is involved the chances of anyone finding out about any accident through the international media coverage is very slight!

    Interesting comments by a cruise company that this accident was caused by a "sudden unexpected whirlwind"! So this could happen again! this comment brings great confidence to every tourist wanting to go to Ha Long! question I have is what is being done about this???

    Ha Long has great natural beauty and this is what is killing it!

    North Vietnamese I view as clannish mafia types. The reason why some tour operators use local partners is because they have to!

    The large popular Ha Long Bay junks are unsafe in almost any waters! they are flat bottomed wooden barges with hotel rooms on top. They are built at lowest price with Owners profit the sole motivation! take a look at the hull framing, planking and overall workmanship! these vessels need to be rebuilt every 3-5 years and now with significantly reduced incomes from reduced foreign tourism (read 10% occupancy compared to 80%?) there will be even less maintenance & so they will be even more dangerous!!

    Basically these junks are registered as river boats allowed to be used in the ocean of Ha Long Bay with certain requirements; they are not as such ocean going vessels! There are only two or three overnight anchoring places permitted by the authorities because these locations are sheltered and the authorities can closely monitor these junks.

    Crews have no idea of seamanship! just look at the way they operate - anchoring is a classic! Captains are not seamen - they are men with money who buy their Masters license (by comparison the fishermen who are the real seamen in VN have no money and can not afford licenses!!) I love the way sails are down during motoring under power and then raised at anchor (they can not sail)! Sinkings are normally caused when routes are cut short thru shallow waters (and with about 3.5 metre tides conditions change rapidly!). In comparison crews and boats from Cat Ba are much better.

    Hoi An had speedboat accidents in 2009 - no fatalities thankfully - unreported of course.

    In Vietnam there is a massive need to improve safety at sea which is not being done by the authorities or operators. As a tourist carefully pick who and where you travel by boat with because the marine environment is much like the roads, only much more dangerous!!

    #4 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 08:06

  • somtam2000

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    More reports coming in on substantial flooding in Siem Reap. Also, a friend in Mukdahan has said the town is on the highest alert -- so watch out MADMAC!

    #5 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 11:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    The Mekong is alright. I've heard they had some flooding up in Wanyai, which happens just about every year. But the river, which would be my source of concern since I live almost right on it, is OK. Still about 12 meters to go before it reaches a point of concern.

    #6 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 12:58

  • YoungMumAnd-
    SonTravellers

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I am currently in Hanoi

    Was due to travel to Hoi An this morning but according to all travel agents we have spoken to Hoi An is currently VERY flooded and due to bad drainage systems will probably not be fully functional again for 7-10 days

    Regarding the boats in Halong Bay - we were there the day after the boat sank and all boats were still operating (and using the sunken boat as a tourist attraction - very bad taste given that the bodies were only removed that morning) however they are currently not operating until the seas are calmer - it is fairly protected there so this should only be a day or so.

    On the upside Hanoi is fairing very well, it is raining but there is still plenty to do and many people offering to sell you rain coats to help you do it without being too wet.

    Good Luck!!

    #7 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 17:30

  • justwonderi-
    ng

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 20

    I feel a bit guilty worrying about my holiday plans when locals have had their lives devastated but... anyone know how badly the citadel and temples around Hue have been affected? we're due to fly there next Sunday. looks like we'll definitely have to give Hoi An a miss, but I'm not sure whether or not to skip the whole central area trip we'd planned (were going Hue, hoi an then 5 days through teh central highlands to dalat)and fly straight to dalat or whether to still go through Hue and on to the central highlands. I gather the Kontum area has been badly affected too, but so much so that it should be avoided in another 9 days time? I guess we'll find out soon enough but if anyone there now has an opinion, i'd be interested to hear it. cheers :-)

    #8 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 06:38

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 386

    Ubon Ratchathani. Some of the low lying areas in Warin Chamlap had some flooding along with some in Sisaket. Nothing like the major hit areas though. The Moon was already running high last weekend. Today (Thursday)is cloudy but not raining. I say that and look outside and it's sprinkling. LOL

    #9 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 11:53

  • Pablot

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 102

    Central highlands badly hit with flash flooding in some places. Give Hue a miss - I can not answer exact questions about citadel etc. because everyones movements are difficult at the moment, maybe someone else knows?

    Problem is there are two more storms/ typhoons on the way which if more rains will really make flooding a serious problem!

    Weather is why monsoon season is NOT a good time to travel in Central Vietnam, and tour agents and operators should advise travellors before they make plans. It is not possible to make predictions except to say conditions will be rough at times!

    #10 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 11:54

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  • Pablot

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 102

    Central highlands badly hit with flash flooding in some places. Give Hue a miss - I can not answer exact questions about citadel etc. because everyones movements are difficult at the moment, maybe someone else knows?

    Problem is there are two more storms/ typhoons on the way which if more rains will really make flooding a serious problem!

    Weather is why monsoon season is NOT a good time to travel in Central Vietnam, and tour agents and operators should advise travellors before they make plans. It is not possible to make predictions except to say conditions will be rough at times!

    #11 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 11:54

  • spakky

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    We're in Kon Tum at the moment and despite heavy rain Monday/Tuesday, the rains stopped yesterday and the clear up is ongoing. There are reports of lots of landslides and flooding elsewhere in the province but the town itself seems to have held up well. All the roads are closed until tomorrow and not sure of next steps from here. Can anyone recommend good English language weather service for Vietnam - we knew about the likelihood of tropical storms but despite having been glued to the news on the way up North, had no idea that Ketsana was going to hit until it was too late... *dumb foreigner* - hear more storms are on the way...

    #12 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 14:26

  • kpop

    Joined Travelfish
    26th May, 2009
    Posts: 8

    Hi all,

    Feeling similar to justwondering...I feel bad worrying about my travel plans when others are clearly suffering. But need to ask the question anyway...

    I am in Vientiane and was planning to travel south and eventually into Hue within a week or so. I'm likely aborting the Hue plans, but wondering if anyone knows what road conditions are like through south central Laos, ie. Savannakhet to Pakse ? I am thinking of busing from Vientiane to Savannakhet or Pakse in about 5 days and trying to find info on the road conditions, if there has been flooding, etc.

    Alternatively, any ideas on where might be a nice place to fly to from Vientiane? I'm open to anywhere in SE Asia.

    Thanks for the updates!

    Katie

    #13 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 16:17

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6246
    Total reviews: 10

    Katie
    I'm not sure about the Lao side, but on this side of the river, the roads are still OK. I would think you could get to Svanakhet without a problem. But it looks like we are going to see some more rain for the next few days anyway.

    Boat races are scheduled to start tomorrow... looks like they'll be racing in the rain though.

    #14 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 23:21

  • Pablot

    Joined Travelfish
    4th May, 2009
    Posts: 102

    For years I used Hong Kong Observatory as my primary regional source of forecasting, especially their marine forecast for Tonkin & Danang - their work is to international standards & practices.

    I also make reference to Weather Underground www.wunderground.com but I have found their local level forecasting has not always been accurate!

    Typhoon "Parma" is classified as a super typhoon and is on it's way and is now on the other side of the Phillipines. In Central Vietnam the Vietnamese people are of course used to the monsoon season, everyone takes care of their own property by staying close to home and normally expect at least 9 storms annually; nobody has much belief in forecasting or emergency services provided by the Government.

    #15 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 04:02

  • kirstenc

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 6

    I also feel guilty about worrying about my travel plans when the Vietnamese are having such calamities...
    We are due to fly to HCMC tues 6th Oct with our 2 kids. We plan to go up the Mekong to Phonm Penh , then to Siem Reap & onto Laos. We don't want to be caught in the middle of a super typhoon. Should we change our plans & go to Thailand?
    BTW, This is climate change folks and as usual, developing nations like Vietnam are among the hardest hit and we of the west have caused it. It will only get worse.

    #16 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 04:31

  • Pablot

    Joined Travelfish
    4th May, 2009
    Posts: 102

    Normally typhoons do not go south towards Saigon (HCMC), so you should be OK. Storms tend to batter Central VN during monsoon season.

    In Ha Long boat operators normally only miss a few weeks every year with bad weather; by comparison Central Vietnam almost all the monsoon season nobody can operate! and if you are looking at spending time on the beaches around Danang then 2009 was only a 3 and half month season!

    #17 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 18:37

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
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    Total reviews: 14

    Talked to a monk friend yesterday from Chua Phap Bao temple near the Old Quarter in Hoi An , and although he said he was exhausted he said that everyone there is doing alright. The water was at that time almost up to the second story balcony of the temple, but they had planned ahead and gotten all of the important statues and other relics out of the main temple, which is completely flooded. The monks are spending their time navigating the streets in small boats bringing food and water to those who are stuck on the upper floors of buildings.

    The situation sounds devastating and brings to mind images of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans back in '05, but the people in Hoi An are used to this - it's why all buildings in Hoi An are made of stone or other water resistant material. In fact, when I was in Hoi An this same monk showed me pictures of flooding from a few years ago that was actually worse than the flooding now. Still, with two other storms brewing at sea, another hit could make the flooding worse than in recent memory. I'm keeping Hoi An in my thoughts, but am also confident that the people there know how to deal with floods like this. Just wish I could be there to help them clean up in the coming weeks and months.

    #18 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 23:08

  • spakky

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Thanks Pablot for the weather tip.

    Should anyone wish to make a donation towards the disaster relief, details of Oxfam's appeal are here - http://www.oxfam.org.uk/oxfam_in_action/emergencies/vietnam-typhoon-ketsana.html
    Whether people are used to it or not, as our landlady put it today, "things are not good" in the Central Highlands and help is needed.

    #19 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 23:33

  • rhalper

    Joined Travelfish
    29th June, 2009
    Posts: 2
    Total reviews: 8

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Any update on conditions in Hoi An & Hue? Are there any volunteer organizations a la the Red Cross if I want to help in some way as part of my travels?

    On a selfish note - did the damage stretch as far down as Nha Trang?

    #20 Posted: 5/10/2009 - 16:49

  • spakky

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    hello. In Hue today and to be honest, you wouldn't know there'd been a storm here last week. I don't know if it's more obvious outside of the city but around the citadel etc, all seems very much business as usual. We came on the train from Da Nang - that was running fine. All buses between here and Da Nang, Hoi An and further are all available so I see no reason not to visit.

    #21 Posted: 6/10/2009 - 23:36

  • spakky

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    hello. In Hue today and to be honest, you wouldn't know there'd been a storm here last week. I don't know if it's more obvious outside of the city but around the citadel etc, all seems very much business as usual. We came on the train from Da Nang - that was running fine. All buses between here and Da Nang, Hoi An and further are all available so I see no reason not to visit.

    #22 Posted: 6/10/2009 - 23:39

  • roynolan

    Joined Travelfish
    29th January, 2009
    Posts: 47

    Hi
    I know from my friend in Hue that the typhoon was very bad. He looks after his younger brother and they lost clothes and bedding and have no food.His father died recently and he has been unable to work.It might seem ok now that the storm has passed, but it takes time and money(which he hasn't got) toreplace clothes and dry bedding and replace broken windows.
    The red cross and other organisations seem to be concentrating on the area round HoiAn, so if anyone wants to buy him some food while visiting Hue, he would be grateful.

    #23 Posted: 7/10/2009 - 05:45

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