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June 29, 2017

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Typhoon Parma lingers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Officials and firemen in northern Yilan County took the emergency action of evacuating more than 20 residents of seven households in two townships to safety last evening after heavy rainfall triggered floods and landslides.

President Ma Ying-jeou expressed concern over the situation in Yilan and said for the sake of people's safety, the first evacuation operation in northern Taiwan was the right move.

Rainfall brought by Typhoon Parma reached nearly 500 millimeters in Sanshing and Dongshan townships, causing half-meter flooding in some areas.

The evacuees were taken either to relatives' homes or town halls converted into temporary shelters.

After issuing a land warning against the approaching typhoon early yesterday morning, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said rainfall in northern and eastern Taiwan will only continue increasing as Parma remains stationary off of southern Taiwan.

Parma, which was centered 270 kilometers southwest of Taiwan's southernmost tip as of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, was slowly crawling in a north-northwesterly direction at a continuously slowing pace.

It is expected to reach only 240 km southwest of Ouluanpi, Taiwan's southernmost tip in Pingtung County, at 8:00 p.m. today.

But the CWB warned that the relentless rainfall will continue today and tomorrow with greater threats of floods and mudslides.

In addition to Yilan County, rainfall has also surpassed 200 mm in Reifang Township of Taipei County and in some areas of southern Pingtung.

Yilan became the first northern county to have enforced evacuations, while more than 1,000 people in the southern districts have already been moved to temporary shelters with assistance provided by military troops.

The Ministry of National Defense has dispatched an increasing number of soldiers to transport sand bags to Sanshing to block waters from rain-swollen rivers from spilling over their banks.

CWB officials said people should suspend all activities in mountain regions and near rivers in light of the heavy rains and flash floods.

Those living along the coasts must also call off sea-related activities due to the high tide, they said.

Ships plying the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines should continue maintaining high alert against strong winds.

Temperatures throughout the island will continue dipping today and tomorrow because of the continuous rains and other effects from the typhoon.

The mercury in northern Taiwan will fluctuate between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius today, compared to 23-31 degrees in the central parts of the island.

The temperature in southern Taiwan will move between 24 and 31 degrees, while in eastern Taiwan, temperatures should stay between 23 to 28 degrees.

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