Police assist fishermen to anchor their vessels in central Thua Thien - Hue province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Storm Sarika is expected to enter the Tonkin Gulf and head toward Vietnam’s coastal provinces from Quang Ninh to Nam Dinh on October 19 with winds up to 165km per hour, according to the National Forecast Hydrometeorological Forecast Centre.

The director of the centre, Hoang Duc Cuong, said Sarika was forecast to be the most dangerous and strongest storms to hit Vietnam in recent years.

This is the seventh storm to hit the East Sea this year.

The storm was located 190km north-northwest of Hoang Sa Archipelago at 4am of October 18, with wind speed in the eyewall of the storm reaching 165km per hour.

It was moving in the west -northwest direction at a speed of 15km per hour.

The storm was predicted to hit offshore northeastern localities of Vietnam at 4pm of October 19, according to the centre.

The centre warned that the storm would bring heavy rain of 200-300mm for northeastern and northern central localities. The rains could bring floods to these localities and mountainous areas are warned of flash floods and landslides.

Wind speed in the storm’s eyewall could reach from 135 to 150km per hour with stronger gales from 184 to 201km per hour, according to the forecast centre.

All administrations and agencies have been placed on alert.

The National Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and the National Steering Committee for Search and Rescue Operations have held a teleconference with authorities of 22 localities from Hai Phong to Quang Binh to discuss measures to cope with the storm.

Local authorities were asked to keep a close watch on the storm, and warn owners of ships operating offshore, advising them to move to seek safe harbour.

They were also required to check the safety of reservoirs, particularly those that are already full, review the situation of aquaculture farms and prepare to evacuate at short notice people residing in flood- and landslide-prone areas.

The Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee set up seven working groups headed by chairman and vice chairmen to inspect preventive measures and instruct people to respond to the upcoming storm. The authorities asked its localities to mobilise personnel and vehicles to harvest rice before the storm comes.

According to the authorities, nearly 8,000 fishing boats have been moving to shelters so far, while all workers at aquatic raising ponds and people in vulnerable areas were moved to safe places.

As of 6am of October 18, Thai Binh province basically completed moving boats to shelters. There are 1,96 fishing boats with 3,560 workers in the province.

By the end of October 17, over 36,000 fishing boats carrying 164,000 fishermen in the central provinces - from Quang Tri to Khanh Hoa - were told to seek safe harbour as the storm is making its way to Vietnam.

The Centre of Flood and Storm Prevention in the Central and Central Highlands regions said 31,000 fishing boats and 125,000 labourers had already arrived at ports or docked safely as of October 17 morning.

Around 470 boats and 6,700 fishermen were en route home or to safe shelters in Vietnam’s sea of Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel).-VNA