DANANG: Typhoon Noru tore roofs from homes and caused power outages across central Vietnam Wednesday, with hundreds of thousands of people taking refuge, after the storm claimed at least 10 lives in the Philippines, reports AFP.
In Danang, Vietnam's third-largest city, high-rise buildings shook as the typhoon made landfall in the early hours of Wednesday, bringing winds of up to around 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour, according to the national forecaster.
Wind speeds were lower than initially feared, but forecasters said heavy rain would continue and warned of landslides and serious flooding.
The defence ministry has mobilised around 40,000 soldiers and 200,000 militia members, equipped with armoured vehicles and boats in preparation for rescue and relief operations, state media said.
In the tourist city of Hoi An, the Hoai River was close to bursting its banks, while the ground was littered with metal roof sheeting and fallen trees that had damaged cars and blocked roads.
Several streets in the old town were under water.
The typhoon was terrible last night. I could not sleep as the wind was so strong and loud, resident Nguyen Thi Hien told AFP.
I heard the sound of fallen trees and signboards outside. I was scared. But we were prepared so luckily the losses were not that bad.
Residents rushed to clean up the debris early on Wednesday, with some shops already open and tourists walking the streets, taking pictures of the floodwater.
Reshma D'Souza, from India, spent a frightening night in her hotel room. At around 1 am, she said, she saw that the wall was vibrating.
(It was) shaking, so I was just praying and I was so scared. Airports and offices across central provinces began to reopen on Wednesday afternoon.
But key sections of the highway linking Hanoi in the north with commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City in the south remained closed due to landslides and floods, according to state media.
Noru hit Vietnam after slamming into the Philippines earlier this week as a super typhoon with winds of up to 195 kph, leaving 10 dead and eight missing, the civil defence office said.
The typhoon was forecast to continue moving inland Wednesday, passing over Laos before hitting Thailand's northeastern Ubon Ratchathani province on Thursday and gradually weakening into a tropical depression.
Thai authorities warned of heavy rain and possible flash flooding, saying people living in high-risk areas should prepare to evacuate their homes.
Vietnam is frequently lashed by heavy storms in the rainy season between June and November, with central coastal provinces the worst affected.
Scientists have warned the storms are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer because of climate change.