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Vietnam races to prepare devastated central region as typhoon nears

HANOI — Vietnam was rushing to ensure more than half a million people were out of harm’s way on Tuesday, ahead of the arrival of a powerful typhoon set to dump more heavy rain on a central region devastated by weeks of intense weather.

Hundreds of flights were canceled and schools closed in affected areas as Typhoon Molave approached over the South China Sea, packing wind speed of up to 165 kilometers (103 miles) per hour and expected to make landfall early on Wednesday.

Molave will be the fourth storm to hit the Southeast Asian country this month, deepening a crisis in its central region that has seen 130 people killed in floods and landslides and many still missing.

State media cited the disaster agency as saying some 572,000 people would need to be evacuated by 5 p.m. (0900) on Tuesday. The government on Monday said it was preparing to evacuate nearly 1.3 million people from risky areas.

State broadcaster VTV showed footage of military helping the elderly on to buses and directing boats to come ashore, while residents and soldiers piled sandbags on roofs to secure them from the approaching strong winds.

Molave struck the Philippines at the weekend, causing flooding and landslides and killing at least three people, with 13 still missing on Tuesday, the disaster agency said.

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