|Cyclones deliver severe damages, even to well-built houses. All the iron doors of this building in Da Nang are bent over|
For the past few days the citizens of central Viet Nam have warily watched Xangsane, Viet Nam’s sixth hurricane, which was predicted to hit on October 1. And as predicted Xangsane, which means “big elephant” in Lao language, slammed into Viet Nam and left much devastation in less than a couple of hours.
Da Nang holds its breath
Da Nang City’s power was cut on Sunday morning. As forecasters announced that the eye storm was 25 km from the city, torrential rain and gale force winds were already lashing up whitewater on the Han River.
Soon, the wailing winds intensified to huge howls across the region. At that moment, a news resource from Quang Tri noted that someone had been struck by lightning. Within thirty minutes the whole 6-storey building sheltering police and reporters shook fiercely. The first signs of the fatal storm were beginning to show.
The metal roofing above the reporters and police officers flapped in the wind. People heard repeated smashes of window glass from somewhere nearby. Immediately, the rains would come crashing into the emergency crew inside.
The hot line had given a brief warning just before Xangsane came barreling into Da Nang City. According to the hot line, an electric company car was overturned, Sai Gon Giai Phong’s office roof ripped off, and a crane came crashing down on Nguyen Van Linh road.
|Many power poles are felled off in the strong winds in Quang Nam province|
As well, a massive tree was snapped in half with its top blown tens of meters from its roots. The 120km/h winds continuously chopped down branches of century-old trees.
The phone line was cut off. All cried for replies from others in vain. The gusting wind reached force 12 as the eye of the storm came ashore. Bach Dang street, the main street of the city, overflowed with water from the Han River.
A fishing ship anchored just a stone’s throw from the street disintegrated shortly after the hit. A four-seat car lying in the street was displaced by the cyclone.
By 10:30 am it was announced that one child in Da Nang had been killed and Kon Tum was beginning to suffer from the cyclone.
Nothing left except huge damages
All reporters, police officers and reporters were in such danger that they went downstairs to basement to find shelter and catch the latest news about the deadly typhoon.
Two young reporters intended to go out, but were forced to turn around. By noon, dark clouds covered the whole city. Two armored cars carrying rescuers were employed to protect the property of the citizens.
|Old trees on a main street in Da Nang City are uprooted in the strongest-ever typhoon|
“There is nothing to be saved”, cried Ms. Nguyen Thi Be, whose home is in the Tran Phu district in the center of Da Nang. “I ran home right after the winds came, but my roof was blown off and the typhoon missed nothing”.
All reporters started going downtown when the typhoon calmed down. Littering Da Nang’s streets were roofing sheets, tiles, billboards and tree branches.
The typhoon’s ferocity was most severe in the region near the sea. The Son Tra-Dien Ngoc street was full of bricks and stones swept ashore by the fatal waves. Thousands of homes were knocked to the ground.
In a nearby area, the well-built fence of the My Khe hotel disappeared while small boats and coracles heaped up together on the ground. The landscape of the beach was nothing but a gloomy site.
Xangsane has gone by but it has been vastly destructive to the central coast of Viet Nam. However, a precautionary evacuation cleared 200,000 people, so the fatalities were few.