The military has mobilized 500,000 soldiers to prepare for Tropical Storm Conson, which is expected to unleash powerful winds and heavy downpours as it moves toward north-central Vietnam.
During a meeting on Wednesday, the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control stated that more than 258,800 residents may need to be evacuated when the storm approaches.
They include 73,996 people in coastal areas, 114,091 residents living near rivers and dykes, and another 70,770 in areas at high risk of flash floods and landslides.
The Ministry of National Defense has mobilized 500,000 soldiers along with necessary tools and equipment to prepare for the arrival of the storm.
At the meeting, authorities in the north-central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh expressed their concerns over the difficulties they may face when evacuating residents amid local social distancing drives.
According to a representative of the Ministry of Health, the safety of local residents must be prioritized when natural disasters occur.
If evacuation plans include people in areas at high risk of COVID-19 transmission, their temporary shelters must meet certain requirements on pandemic prevention and control, he continued.
The health ministry has issued a document on proactive response to natural disasters, storms, floods, and heavy rains in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also preparing specific guidance for certain scenarios, the representative added.
At 1:00 pm on Thursday, Storm Conson was located 540 kilometers southeast of Vietnam's Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, with winds at 75-90km per hour, the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting reported.
In the next 24 hours, the storm is expected to travel west, with wind speed increasing to 90-115km an hour.