Quang Ngai official blames forecasters for storm damage

The Party leader of Quang Ngai Province has recently blamed the province’s severe damage caused by Typhoon Ketsana on inaccurate forecasts by the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, but the center rejected such a claim October 1.

One of more than 1,160 houses destroyed by Typhoon Ketsana in Quang Ngai Province. (Photo: VnExpress)

The center had forecasted that the stormed would move between West and North West and head to the region of Quang Tri to Thua Thien-Hue provinces. However, the storm changed direction, going West-South West, and hit Quang Ngai.

The Provincial Party Secretary, Pham Dinh Khoi, complained about the inaccurate forecast on September 30.

Tens of people were killed and thousands of others could not find shelter in time, Mr Khoi said, adding that “we cannot accept such a wrong forecast that has caused serious consequences.”

As of October 1, the province reported 31 people killed, three missing, 112 others injured, more than 1,160 houses destroyed and nearly 26,000 houses unroofed by the storm, said the province’s People Committee.

Total damage was estimated at over VND4.5 trillion (US$250 million), it said.

In a report to the Prime Minister, the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Nguyen Xuan Hue, said forecasts by the agency did not match actual developments of the storm in the province.

Following the blame, the center held a press conference in Hanoi on October 1, at which the deputy general director of the center, Tran Van Sap, insisted that on September 27, when the storm was at sea, the center forecasted it would severely affect the Quang Tri-Quang Ngai region.

Quang Ngai was included in all notices released by the national center about the storm’s developments, he asserted.

Even the province’s Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting on September 28 warned: “It is a powerful storm that covers a large area and is likely to directly affect Quang Ngai Province, so measures to cope with it should be taken soon,” he pointed out.

Such notices were released via the media, including radio and television, so the provincial leaders must have known about them, he said.

On the morning of September 28, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai ordered an urgent evacuation of people from Quang Tri to Quang Ngai, with the evacuation having to be completed by the midnight. However, the provincial authorities did not get the task done until the following morning, Mr. Sap said.

Quang Ngai and Kon Tum Provinces reportedly suffered the most damage by Typhoon Ketsana in the Vietnam’s central and Central Highlands provinces.

Source: SGGP, VOV, Tien Phong – Translated by Truc Thinh

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