Typhoon Molave, believed to be the most powerful storm to hit Vietnam in the last 20 years, made landfall just south of Da Nang at around 11.00am on Wednesday morning.
Photo depicts previous flooding of Hoi An and not current conditions – credit Loi Nguyen Duc on flickr
The storm is expected to move westwards through Central Vietnam for the next 12 hours before weakening into a tropical depression and moving into southern Laos.
CNN reported winds of up to 165kph (103mph), equiavalent to a Category 2 Hurricane, although official figures currently record winds of 135kph (84mph). Rainfall of up to 250mm (9.8 inches) has been recorded since Tuesday evening and continues to fall. Waves along the coastline have risen as high as 6 metres (19.5 feet).
26 fisherman are currently missing after their boats sank in rough seas. Two Vietnamese Navy ships are currently searching for the fishermen. There are unconfirmed reports of at least 2 deaths on the Vietnamese mainland.
Power cuts have been reported in Da Nang and nine provinces in the region. Hoi An has experienced extensive flooding in some areas.
There have been reports of extensive damage to at least 500 buildings and many trees being uprooted by the high winds.
Vietnamese military have 250,000 soldiers, helicopters and amphibious vehicles prepared to assist in the aftermath of the storm.
Molave had already caused devastation in the Philippines where it left 3 dead, dozens missing and extensive damage.
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