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Ma visits islands ravaged by typhoons, inspects damage

TAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou flew to the Typhoon Tembin-ravaged Orchid Island Thursday to inspect some of the devastation in person and boost the morale of rehabilitation personnel working there, according to the Presidential Office.

Ma was scheduled to first inspect several of the hardest-hit areas, including Hungtou and Yehyou villages and attend a discussion session on the damage caused by the worst disaster to hit the scenic island in decades, the Presidential Office said.

Following his trip to Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu, Ma was expected to travel to nearby Green Island, which also sustained severe damage when Tembin swept through the area, according to his itinerary.

Packing winds of up to 245 kph, Tembin flattened the only supermarket on Orchid Island, destroyed a gas station and six houses, and damaged about 40-50 others as it slammed ashore on Aug. 28.

The storm kicked up 6-meter-high waves on the shores of the island, sinking boats in Kaiyuan Harbor.

Electricity was knocked out island-wide during the typhoon, but had since been restored in most areas as of press time.

Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan pledged after an inspection tour of the island a day earlier that the damaged infrastructure will be rebuilt within a week.

Orchid Island, a 45-square-km tropical volcanic island located some 90 km off Taiwan's southeastern coast, is home to the Tao aboriginal people. It is a popular vacation destination with superb scuba diving and snorkeling.

Military Aid Typhoon-ravaged Orchid Island

Military personnel set up a command center yesterday on outlying Orchid Island, ravaged by Typhoon Tembin, to provide rescue and relief assistance to residents, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The ministry said it had dispatched a CH-47 transport helicopter and a S-70C rescue helicopter to be placed on standby at an airbase in Taitung County, which administers Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu.

The Ministry of the Interior said it had transported 2,000 kg of food and 1,500 kg of other relief supplies to Orchid Island a day earlier.

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