Vietnam: Typhoon Linda - Information Bulletin n° 1

The Disaster
Typhoon Linda swept across the Mekong Delta at the southern tip of Vietnam and over the Gulf of Thailand on 2 November wreaking death and destruction on Vietnam. As it proceeded into Tanintharyi State in Myanmar the next day, heavy rain fell but the devastating force had greatly diminished so little damage appears to have occurred.

The overall death toll and full extent of the devastation are currently unknown due to the difficulty in accounting for those at sea and lost in the chaos caused by this typhoon. Media reports are placing the number dead in Vietnam at over 150 but thousands remain unaccounted for - especially those who were out at sea during the storm.

Typhoon Linda is currently in the Bay of Bengal after having passed over the Andaman Islands about 00h00 GMT on 5 November. Satellite images and meteorological predictions indicate that it may hit landfall near the India coast by Calcutta or the Patuakhali area of Bangladesh on 7

November.

Meteorological services in Indonesia and Malaysia have reported that Typhoon Linda has pushed the smog/haze back over many areas that were seriously affected during the past several weeks. In addition, as it gained strength and pulled in moisture, the chance of rainfall in Indonesia, where the fires still rage, diminished (see Indonesia Smog/Haze Appeal launched 3 November). A further threat, Super Typhoon Keith, with winds up to 160 knots per hour, is heading in a westerly direction, south and east of Japan. However, based upon current predictions, it will turn north and then easterly, avoiding landfall. Cyclone Martin has formed in the southern Pacific and has already badly affected the Cook Islands (see Information Bulletin 01 issued today, 5 November). The meteorological service in Fiji has sent out warnings to ships in the area to be aware of high seas.

Typhoons at this time of year are uncommon in Asia. However, many parts of the world are experiencing unusual weather-related phenomena - including Papua New Guinea (see Drought

Appeal launched 28 October), Australia, Indonesia, China, parts of Africa and the Americas. Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

Vietnam: Preliminary statistics have been compiled (annex 1) by the Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) branches. Still incomplete due to the complexities of information-gathering in this type of disaster,