FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2018
Typhoon Damrey
11/6/2017 2:00:00 PM
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Landfall 11/6/2017 2:00:00 PM 
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Posting Date: 11/6/2017 2:00:00 PM

The strongest typhoon to hit southern Vietnam in 16 years made landfall in Khanh Hoa Province at about at 4 a.m. local time on Saturday, November 4 (21:00 UTC on Friday, November 3). Typhoon Damrey was maintaining maximum wind speeds of 150 km/h (93 mph, 1-minute sustained) at landfall. Areas from the south-central coast of Vietnam southward to Vũng Tàu were directly impacted by the storm system. Wind damage near the landfall area was significant, causing ripped off roofs, knocked down electricity poles, downed trees, and widespread power outages. Interacting with a cold front from the north, Damrey caused torrential rain across the entire central and south-central region, with flooding and landslides reported. Further impacts are predicted as rain continues through Wednesday, and many rivers and lakes are reaching capacity. Maximum storm surge height was observed at 0.9 meters, further exacerbating flooding in coastal cities. The death toll is currently over 60, and is expected to grow.

Meteorological Summary

While Vietnam is no stranger to typhoons, the southern part of the country is rarely troubled by storms. The climatology of typhoon activity for Vietnam is influenced by the fact that it is at the western edge of the Northwest Pacific Basin. An average of four typhoons make landfall in Vietnam on an annual basis, which tend to be mainly tropical storms or very weak typhoons, and activity usually decreases toward the south. Despite the lack of strong winds, there is typically a lot of precipitation. Damage from flood is generally the primary threat from typhoons for Vietnam. This year, Damrey is the 16th typhoon to make landfall in the Northwest Pacific, the 4th to make landfall at Vietnam and the strongest to hit south of Qui Nhon in 16 years since Typhoon Lingling.

The country is still reeling from a tropical storm that struck more than two weeks earlier, which caused massive flooding and mudslides farther north in central Vietnam, submerging more than 30,000 houses, and damaging infrastructure and crops.

Damrey formed near the east coast of the Philippines (where it was known as Typhoon Ramil) and made landfall there as a tropical depression on November 1, local time. It caused massive floods and landslides in southern Luzon and the Visayan Islands, and resulted in at least two deaths. Moving swiftly west, Damrey intensified over the next two days to a Category 1, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale, in the Pacific Basin before slamming into Vietnam’s south-central coast.

Exposure at Risk

In Vietnam, the majority of residential structures are reinforced concrete low- to mid-rise buildings. However, there is still a large portion of residential structures that are unreinforced masonry buildings, especially those that are low-rise. These masonry buildings usually fail to follow local building codes and are constructed without proper supervision, which makes them vulnerable to natural hazards, such as typhoons. Wood frame is rarely found in residential buildings throughout the region, but still widely used in agricultural buildings in Vietnam. The primary materials for commercial use buildings in Vietnam are reinforced concrete and steel, although there is still a significant portion using masonry.

Reported Impacts

At least 35,000 people were evacuated from Phú Yên, Khánh Hoà, and Ninh Thuận provinces in advance of the storm’s arrival. Fishermen were recalled into coastal towns, and major international shipping ports redirected cargo ships. Many national and international flights at Cam Ranh Airport were canceled.

The Communist state's Central Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Control said the typhoon leveled more than 1,300 houses, and damaged nearly 115,000. The resort town and industrial center of Nha Trang, capital of Khanh Hoa, was directly hit by strong Category 1-equivalent wind, along with rain and flooding. Cities near landfall were also strongly affected, including Da Nang, where the APEC Summit is hosting world leaders this week; local authorities made significant efforts to clear downed trees, removed damaged signs, and otherwise prepare the city in advance of the event.

Flooding is widespread through the central region. More than 1,700 people were evacuated from the Cần Giờ District in Ho Chi Minh City, and tourists were evacuated as Hoi An Town in Quang Nam was submerged with waist-deep water. A landslide killed eight people in the central province of Quang Nam on November 5. The Agriculture and Rural Development Minister warned that “all the lakes and rivers are full,” surpassing historic flood levels set in 1997.

Media also reported that several roads have been closed and power outages have been affecting the area. Parts of National Highway 1A passing the province were submerged in nearly 2 feet of water, which caused prolonged traffic jams. Trains were halted due to downed trees on tracks, flooding, and landslides.

Agricultural damage was reported for 30,000 hectares of crops, including more than 5,000 hectares of rice and nearly 15,000 hectares of vegetables. A key coffee-growing region was affected, but farmers are reporting minimal damage. The southwest coast has significant aquaculture offshore, and more than 24,400 aquatic breeding cages were damaged. More than 1,200 fishing vessels were either sunk or ruined while in dock. Damage to and sinking of cargo ships were reported.

Insurance in Vietnam

Vietnam is currently ranked as the 52nd largest insurance market in the world and the 57th largest non-life (P&C) market. Non-life and health insurance penetration in Vietnam lag significantly behind comparable countries. In 2014 non-life (P&C) market premium represented 0.54% of GDP, for example, compared with 1.13% in China and 1.37% in Thailand.

Damrey's Track and Intensity

After landfall, Damrey lost force within hours. It passed quickly through Vietnam, moving northwest to neighboring southern Cambodia on Sunday afternoon, local time. Precipitation from Damrey may cause continued major flooding in south-central Vietnam over the next two days, with continued flash flooding and landslides.

Typhoon Damrey
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