2000 tourists stranded in Vietnam as tropical storm approaches

2,000 tourists were stranded on Ly Son Island as a strong tropical depression approached the region on Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Thach Thao.

Tropical depression was forecast to strengthen into a storm in waters around Paracel Archipelago.

As many as 2,000 tourists were stranded on Ly Son Island in the central province of Quang Ngai as a strong tropical depression approached the region on Sunday.

The depression, growing from the Spratly Islands on Saturday has brought heavy rainfall and strong winds in the center of the South China Sea.

As it heads northward to the Paracel Archipelago, it is projected to strengthen into a storm.

The resultant rough seas have prompted local authorities to prohibit all transporting ships and fishing boats from sailing.

The inclement weather spoilt the summer weekend for thousands who had flocked to the popular Ly Son Island.

Over a thousand of them have already been evacuated by Saturday afternoon, said Pham Thi Huong, the district deputy chairman, adding there were still 2,000 stranded because boat travel had become impossible.

Authorities had to stop some tourists who’d ignored warnings and hired boats to return to the mainland. “It would have been very dangerous,” Huong added. “We have to ban all sailing until the weather improves.”

The depression is moving with winds of 75 kilometers (47 miles) per hour and is forecast to be around 250 kilometers off the coast of Quang Ngai Province on Monday morning, according to the National Center for Hydrometerological Forecasting.

Ly Son, a volcanic island about 30 kilometers off Quang Ngai Province, has emerged in recent years as a favoured destination.

Last year, Ly Son Island and its neighboring islet of An Binh received more than 200,000 visitors, according to provincial authorities. – VNExpress

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