Storm heads towards the Philippines, Vietnam safe

HANOI Thu May 7, 2009 10:43am IST

HANOI May 7 (Reuters) - Tropical storm Chan-Hom was moving away from Vietnamese waters towards the Philippines after threatening Vietnam's coffee belt, Hanoi said on Thursday.

Chan-Hom, the first storm detected in Vietnam's waters this year, was 280 km (175 miles) southwest of the main Philippine island of Luzon early on Thursday, the Vietnamese government said after the storm spared the coffee-growing region in the world's second-largest coffee producer after Brazil.

"While the storm will no longer threaten the land, it is still very dangerous to ships operating in the area of its path," the government said in a statement.

Chan-Hom, named after a kind of tree in the Lao language, was gathering strength and the most dangerous area remained between the Paracels and the Spratlys. Vietnam had no reports of damage as of late Wednesday, the statement said.

Chan-Hom is forecast to enter the Philippines later on Thursday, the Philippine weather bureau has said. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by John Ruwitch and Paul Tait) (For more information on humanitarian crises and issues visit www.alertnet.org)

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