Hanoi: Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in Vietnam early on Wednesday, meteorologists said, days after it left thousands feared dead and widespread devastation in the Philippines.
The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said in an update at 2100 GMT the storm "is currently making landfall" approximately 100 miles (160 kilometres) east south-east of the capital Hanoi.
The storm, which had weakened significantly since scything through the Philippines over the weekend, made landfall with sustained winds of 75 miles (120 kilometres) per hour, said the JTWC, a joint US Navy and Air Force task force located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
More than 600,000 people were evacuated on the weekend as Haiyan bore down on Vietnam.
Residents of Hanoi were braced for heavy rains and flooding, while tens of thousands of people in coastal areas were ordered to take shelter.
"We have evacuated more than 174,000 households, which is equivalent to more than 600,000 people," said an official report by Vietnam's flood and storm control department.
The storm changed course on Tuesday, prompting further mass evacuations of about 52,000 people in northern provinces by the coast.
"People must bring enough food and necessities for three days.... Those who do not move voluntarily will be forced," online newspaper VNExpress said, adding all boats have been ordered back to shore.
The Red Cross said Haiyan's changed path meant that "the disaster area could be enlarged from nine provinces to as many as 15", stretching the country's resources.
Many of the capital's residents were rushing to stock up on food and water before the storm hit.
"I ran to the supermarket to buy instant noodles, vegetables and meat for the family," said office worker Nguyen Thi Uyen, 33.
"There was not much left on the shelves.... People are worried, buying food to last them for a few days."
All schools were ordered shut in the capital Monday and extra police were dispatched to redirect traffic in flood-prone areas.
In the northern port city of Hai Phong, also facing heavy rain and flooding, residents voiced frustration with official preparations.
"The city only warned us about the typhoon very late.... They were too slow in advising people to prepare," Nguyen Hung Nam, 70, told AFP.
Many of the estimated 200,000 people evacuated in four south-central provinces initially thought to be in the storm's path have been allowed to go back to their homes, according to the government's website.
Updated Date: Apr 23, 2014 13:58:22 IST