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Weakened Haiyan makes landfall in Vietnam

Typhoon Haiyan has made landfall in Vietnam after causing major death and destruction in the Philippines. Meteorologists, though, said the storm had weakened considerably before reaching Vietnam.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center said in an update on Haiyan's movement at 21:00 GMT on Sunday, that the storm was "currently making landfall" around 100 miles (160 kilometers south-east of the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.

It said that as the storm arrived on the Vietnamese coast, it was packing sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour). This is far weaker than the sustained winds of 195 miles per hour and gusts of up to 235 miles per hour that battered the Philippines on Friday.

In anticipation of Haiyan's arrival, though, Vietnamese authorities were taking no chances, organizing the evacuation of more than 600,000 people from the areas expected to be hardest hit.

The AFP news agency cited a local news website that reported that people being evacuated had been instructed to take with them enough food and other necessities to last for at least three days.

The Red Cross also warned that a change in the path of the storm meant that Vietnam's potential "disaster area had enlarged from nine provinces to 15." This led to the government ordering the evacuation of a further 50,000 residents.

The local authorities and the Red Cross also took further steps to prepare for the storm, including placing sandbags on the rooves of some homes (pictured above), in an effort to try to prevent them from being blown away by the storm.

Philippines struggling to cope

In the Philippines, meanwhile, rescue and emergency workers struggled to cope with the devastation, as the international community pledged to send massive assistance.

The latest confirmed death toll in the Philippines stood at 552 late on Sunday, but there were fears that as emergency crews manage to reach the disaster areas, this could well climb into the thousands.

pfd/av (AFP, dpa)

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