Typhoon Sepat disrupted transportation nationwide yesterday, with airlines canceling 56 domestic flights scheduled to take off yesterday afternoon and evening.
The Taiwan Railway Administration also canceled some of its southbound trains operating along the west and east coasts yesterday afternoon. The Taiwan High Speed Railway Corp also announced that all services would be canceled from 7am to 6pm today.
Airline companies also announced yesterday that all the domestic flights had been canceled for today.
PHOTO: HSU MIN-JUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
China Airlines flights taking off from Kaohsiung before 2pm and four Cathay Pacific flights from Taipei for Hong Kong taking off before 9am have been canceled.
Flights scheduled to depart after 9am will either be postponed or canceled.
Mandarin Airlines flights bound for Ho Chi-Ming City leaving from Taichung and Kaohsiung, have been canceled and passengers are advised to check with the airlines for more information.
Boat departures for the nation's surrounding islands have been canceled since yesterday morning.
The Central Weather Bureau cautioned that stronger winds and more rain are expected today.
As of 8:30pm yesterday, the center of Sepat was 210km southeast of Taitung County and moving northwest at a speed of 18kph.
The maximum wind speed near the center of the typhoon was measured at 184kph. Its gusts could reach a maximum speed of 227kph.
The storm has a 250km radius, with a concentric eye-wall. It will likely make landfall early this morning, then move away from the island this afternoon.
By 2pm yesterday, the storm had already covered Lanyu (
The bureau warned the entire nation, including its surrounding islands, will be covered by the storm today.
The bureau also advised that loose objects should be securely fixed and warned against outdoor activities near the sea or rivers.
Residents in mountainous areas must be prepared for possible landslides, falling rocks, and mud flows, it said.
The bureau estimated that the rainfall in the mountainous areas of the east could exceed 1,000mm, while rainfall in the mountains in Kaohsiung and Pingtung Counties could reach 800mm.
As of press time, schools and government offices in all cities and counties nationwide except for Matzu County had announced that they would be closed today.
Taipei City yesterday announced it would allow roadside parking on red and yellow lines over the weekend, while reminding drivers that parking on the No. 26 Expressway and cross-county bridges is prohibited this year.
The city's Department of Transportation said it no longer allowed parking on the bridges because of safety concerns, since the policy had been blamed for accidents in the past, but said it would consider making certain bridges available in the event of serious flooding.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (
"The Public Works Department is on standby in those areas to take immediate measures ... We will seek to prevent any disasters caused by human error," Hau said.
In response to Beitou residents' growing complaints about constant flooding during typhoon season, Hau said the flood-prevention work in Beitou would be completed at the end of this month, which is expected to solve the flooding problems in the area.
The city's disaster prevention center said Taipei should get less rain than southern Taiwan, but residents in low-lying areas should still guard against flooding.
The Parking Management Office told car owners who park at riverbank parking lots to pay attention to typhoon information and move their vehicles before the water gates are closed.
The parking information hotline is 02-2759-0666 ext. 6401.
The transportation department said buses would run during the typhoon unless the average wind speed reached 88kph.
Meanwhile, the city government announced the postponement of the Taipei Dadaocheng Fireworks and Music Festival, which was scheduled for tomorrow, until further notice.
A Council of Agriculture official said agricultural losses in the wake of tropical storms Pabuk and Wutip had exceeded NT$420.69 million (US$12.75 million) as of Thursday, with damaged assets increasing by NT$100 million per day.
The official said that large freezers used by markets and farm associations had 4,586 tonnes of vegetables in storage, including 2,693 tonnes of rootstock and 1,518 tonnes of leafy vegetables.
Leafy vegetables have showed the most obvious price surge, while prices of rootstock vegetables have remained roughly stable, the official said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) yesterday blamed the government for the serious flooding in the south, criticizing it for not making good use of the budget earmarked for a flood-control plan.
When inspecting the flooding in Kaohsiung County on Wednesday, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (
The river's flooding in the wake of torrential rain caused severe damage.
Hsu dismissed Chang's accusation, saying the budget for dredging the river had been included in the government's annual budget instead of the eight-year flood-control plan.
In response, Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Wang Tuoh (
"The plan was drawn up in May 2005, but its budget didn't clear the legislature until June last year because of the pan-blue lawmakers boycott of the review," Wang said.
It's unreasonable to put all the blame on central government as it needs local governments' cooperation to carry out flood-prevention plans such as land expropriation, he said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan and CNA
IN A HURRY: The 199,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expire on May 31, so the CECC might expand vaccine eligibility, but distribution would begin in a week at the earliest The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest. The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am. After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth