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Taiwan braces for tropical storm

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
By Camaron Kao ,The China Post and CNA


The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued a land warning for Taiwan and surrounding islands yesterday for the approaching Tropical Storm Talim.

A high school student, surnamed Lin, drowned in a drainage ditch yesterday in Kaohsiung's Liouguei District. Accumulated rainfall reached 173.5 millimeters in Liouguei and the water level rose significantly both in rivers and ditches. The student is believed to have fallen into the ditch while retrieving his slippers.

Suspended Classes, Work

As of press time, Taichung, Changhua County, Nantou County, Chiayi County, Chiayi City, Yunlin County, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung County, Penghu County and Kinmen County had suspended school and work. Taipei, along with New Taipei City and Keelung City, will not suspend school or work, but a final decision will be announced by 5:30 a.m. today.

The agricultural losses caused by heavy rain across Taiwan in recent weeks have risen to NT$624 million, according to statistics released by the Council of Agriculture (COA) Tuesday. The number is expected to escalate further in light of the coming tropical storm.

Rare Route, Southwestern Wind to Bring Heavy Rain

Experts warned that while most storms come from the southeast of Taiwan, storms coming from southwest, like Talim, are likely to cause greater damage and bring more precipitation.

Moreover, along with the strong southwestern winds brought by Typhoon Guchol, the storm is expected to bring a greater amount of rainfall and cause landslides in mountainous areas.

President Urges Thorough Preparation

President Ma Ying-jeou directed public agencies yesterday to be prepared for heavy rains from Tropical Storm Talim, which may deliver up to 1,500 millimeters of precipitation in mountainous areas in following days, according to forecasts.

Ma instructed related agencies to closely monitor river water levels and urged government officials to distribute water pumps and sandbags and to dredge drainage ditches.

Meanwhile, Premier Sean Chen visited the Central Emergency Operation Center and asked it to alert local governments of the need for precautionary evacuations in areas prone to natural disasters during heavy rains as quickly as possible.

As of noon yesterday, 115 hikers were still in mountainous areas, Chen said, and he directed agencies to evacuate the hikers to safety as soon as possible.

Thousands Evacuated

Thousands of people in disaster-prone areas of Central and Southern Taiwan were evacuated Tuesday as Talim approached.

Some 700 residents of Laiyi Township in Southern Taiwan's Pingtung County have been evacuated, the county government said.

Around 50 military personnel have been deployed in Linbian Township — which suffered heavily during Typhoon Morakot in 2009 — to help set up pumps in preparation for any potential disaster.

The Pingtung County Government had also instructed residents of Sandimen and Wutai Townships, which are under a mudslide red alert, to evacuate by noon.

In neighboring Kaohsiung, hundreds of people were evacuated from three villages in Namasia and Liouguei Districts.

Meanwhile, about 2,850 residents in mountainous areas who were evacuated during June 11 flooding will remain in two military camps in Kaohsiung as those areas are likely to be hit by floods and mudslides.

Due to previous heavy rainfall, traffic in some central and southern areas continued to be disrupted, local government officials said, adding that evacuations will continue as soon as the roads are reopened.

The disaster response center in Nantou County, which was activated earlier than scheduled, said residents along the Lising industrial road were scheduled to be evacuated.

A day earlier, hundreds of residents of the county's most remote village were evacuated.

Meanwhile, about 300 residents of a village in Alishan Township were evacuated to a military base.

Vegetable Prices Rise by 32 Percent

Wholesale prices of vegetables rose by 32 percent yesterday compared prices on June 17 in Taipei.

Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) Director Li Tsang-lang (李蒼郎) stated that the supply of vegetables is more ample than on June 17 and the prices should not have risen to this level.

“Consumers rushed to buy additional vegetables in fear of the price hikes of vegetables after the storm,” said Li.

Li said the AFA plans to distribute refrigerated cabbages to smooth prices.

The director further urged business owners to refrain from driving up prices and vowed to cooperate with the Free Trade Commission and prosecutors to crack down on such behavior.

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