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Over 500 residents take refuge at military bases as storm nears

TAIPEI--Hundreds of people have been evacuated to military bases in Southern Taiwan to keep them safe from strong winds and heavy rain expected to be brought by an approaching storm, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

As Tropical Storm Talim nears, more than 500 residents in disaster-prone areas have been given shelter at two military bases in Kaohsiung, while another 149 have been evacuated to a military base in Chiayi County, the ministry said in a statement.

The military has helped evacuate more than 2,700 residents of areas prone to flooding and landslides and prepared shelters that can accommodate as many as 53,272 people, the statement said.

In preparation for any emergencies, the ministry has more than 48,000 servicemen on standby to provide rescue and relief assistance, along with 201 water pumps, 404 electricity generators, 38 helicopters and planes and other rescue equipment.

The ministry said it would closely monitor the storm as it passes over Taiwan to provide assistance in a timely manner.

Talim, the first storm to directly hit Taiwan this year, is expected to bring heavy rainfall around the island, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

Early Wednesday morning, the bureau extended the land warning for Talim to all parts of Taiwan and warned of heavy rainfall in the island's central and southern areas.

As of Wednesday at 1:15 p.m., the storm was centered 60 kilometers west-northwest of the outlying county of Penghu, moving at a speed of 35 kph in a northeasterly direction.

The bureau predicted that Talim will pass over northern Taiwan in the next 24 hours, and will be centered 430 km northeast of Taipei by 8 a.m. on Thursday.

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Chiayi Magistrate Helen Chang (張花冠), left, chats with an aboriginal child evacuated from the Alishan area to a military base in Chiayi County, yesterday. A total of 149 evacuees ...

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