International briefs: Vietnam

VIETNAM has evacuated nearly 300,000 people from its northern coastal areas as tropical storm Nock-ten approached after leaving a path of destruction across the Philippines.

Disaster official Nguyen Xuan Hung of central Nghe An province says provincial authorities began evacuating 13,500 people from coastal villages yesterday, while more than 30,000 are being moved in neighbouring Thanh Hoa province.

Weather forecasters said the storm was expected to hit northern Vietnam last night, with sustained winds of up to 63mph.

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Nock-ten left 41 people dead and 26 missing when it hit the Philippines last week.

Further south, downpours brought by the tropical storm have halted all shipping services across the Qiongzhou Strait, and some Chinese islands had to be evacuated.

All flights in the area were cancelled.

Nock-ten is the eighth storm, and the most powerful, to hit the area so far this year.