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Vietnam begins evacuations as typhoon nears


HANOI--Vietnam began evacuating 200,000 people along its central coast on Wednesday and put troops on standby as typhoon Lekima surged toward the Southeast Asian country, officials said.

The typhoon was expected to make landfall late Wednesday, possibly packing maximum sustained winds of 117 kilometers (72 miles) an hour, Vietnamese weather forecasters said.

"Priorities have been given to old people, women and children. We bring them to public places or to their relatives and friends' houses away from the coast," said Nguyen Truong Son of the flood and storm control committee of Nghe An province.

About 40,000 army troops were put on high alert to help with the evacuation and the aftermath, according to the Thanh Nien or Young People daily newspaper.

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