BackStories » Vietnam » As Storm Son Tinh Approaches, Thousands of Tourists Are Stranded on Phu Quoc Island

High winds and rough waves have forced ship routes to close in Kien Giang Province.

Thousands of vacationers and locals planning to travel from the southern island to mainland Vietnam are out of luck as Port Authorities issued a no-sail order on Tuesday in advance of tropical storm Son Tinh.

The storm was first spotted off the coast of the Philippines on Tuesday morning and is currently headed towards Vietnam at 75 kilometers per hour. In the next two days it is expected to make landfall in northern Vietnam, Laos and Hainan, China, bringing with it rainfall of up to 250 millimeters. Hanoi, Hai Phong and the surrounding areas are expected to be hit with the possibility of flooding and landslides.

Flooding is already occurring on some Phu Quoc streets. Cruise ship operators servicing the island are refunding previously-purchased tickets and announcing that they will resume service once the weather improves. Authorities are being urged to keep in contact with fishing boats to ensure their safety.

Experts estimate eight to 10 storms could strike the East Sea this year. Last year, a record 16 tropical storms ravaged the coasts, leaving 389 people dead or missing. The storms cost the country an estimated VND60 trillion (US$2.64 billion). The effects of Damry, the largest of the storms, are still being felt as communities struggle to rebuild homes and infrastructure, return to school and confront emerging health concerns.

[Photo via Flickr user Jaime Mellor]

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