Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Thousands evacuated ahead of storm

BETTER PREPARED:Evacuations were ordered in parts of Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County in anticipation of the deluge that Talim is expected to unleash on Taiwan

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Fishing boats take shelter from the approaching Tropical Storm Talim in the Nanfangao fishing harbor in Suao Township, Yilan County, yesterday.

Photo: Yang I-min, Taipei Times

Thousands of people in disaster-prone areas of central and southern Taiwan were evacuated yesterday as Tropical Storm Talim approached, with forecasters saying it could bring up to 1,500mm of rain to some areas in the coming days.

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued a sea warning for Talim at 5:30am yesterday as it threatened vessels operating in the southern part of the Taiwan Strait and Bashi Channel. It issued a land warning for Penghu and Kinmen at 8:40pm, adding that a land warning for Taiwan proper could be issued by midnight at the earliest.

Bureau forecaster Lin Hsiu-wen (林秀雯) said the mountainous areas in Greater Kaohsiung had accumulated rainfall of more than 200mm yesterday, which was the highest in the nation. The rainfall had also reached the level the bureau defines as torrential rain, she said.

Today, regions between Greater Taichung and Pingtung should expect torrential rain, and residents in mountainous areas in particular must be prepared to deal with potential disasters caused by torrential rain, the bureau said.

Lin said chances of extremely heavy rain or torrential rain are also high in the regions north of Miaoli County, as well as in Taitung County, adding that those living in Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (馬祖) could also expect heavy to extremely heavy rain.

In Greater Tainan, long waves broke through the levees at Wangye Port in Beimen District (北門), flooding levee roads and some fish farms nearby. Similar damage was reported in the city’s Cigu District (七股).

Flooding was also reported in Gukeng Township (古坑) in Yunlin County in the afternoon as the drainage system was blocked by debris.

Anticipating potential disasters, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) ordered residents in Liouguei (六龜), Jiasian (甲仙), Maolin (茂林), Taoyuan (桃源) and Namasiya (那瑪夏) districts to evacuate by 5pm yesterday.

The Pingtung County Government also launched a preventive evacuation of nearly 1,000 residents in five villages in Wutai (霧台), Sandimen (三地門) and Laiyi (來義) townships. It also installed water pumps in Linbian Township (林邊), where flooding almost always occurs whenever there is torrential rain.

More than 200 residents in Alishan Township (阿里山) in Chiayi County were also ordered to evacuate.

While residents in northern Taiwan did not see heavy rain until yesterday evening, some of them had prepared for the worst after twice experiencing floods last week.

“We are prepared to just let the flood come into the ground floor,” said a woman in Tucheng District (土城), New Taipei City (新北市). “We have moved everything to the second floor.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense said more than 48,000 military personnel, 404 power generators, 201 water pumps and more than 4,000 military vehicles, machines and aircraft were ready to assist in the event of a disaster.

Temporary shelters have been set up at 107 locations and can accommodate up to 53,272 people, the ministry said.

The nation’s airlines announced last night that they would cancel most domestic flights today. All international flights would either be asked by air control towers to take off earlier than scheduled or to postpone their departures. Travelers are advised to contact airlines to get updated information about their flights.

According to the CWB, the formation and path of Talim are rare at this time of year in the Pacific hurricane season.

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