Taiwan braces for its first typhoon of 2017
Taiwan came to a standstill yesterday with power knocked out for part of the island as it braced for its first typhoon of the year. Typhoon Nesat which strengthened into a moderate storm Friday - already brought massive waves of over 15 meters to the east coast, where it is due to make landfall early today. Schools and offices were closed across the island, while most train services are suspended. As many as 35,364 households had electricity outages.
As of 1015 GMT, Nesat was 70 kilometers southeast of Yilan on Taiwan’s east coast, packing gust of up to 180 kilometers an hour. Taiwan’s weather bureau warned of torrential rain in the eastern and southern counties, with the tropical storm expected to dump as much as 900 millimeters of water in some areas. The southernmost county of Pingtung was flooded in many areas, leaving dozens of residents stranded.
More than 36,000 soldiers are on standby to help with disaster relief. Air travel was also disrupted, with 108 flights cancelled at the island’s main Taoyuan International Airport. Although Nesat is Taiwan’s first typhoon this year, the island was pounded by heavy rains last month. At least one person died in June floods in the north of the country, after 600 millimeters of rain fell in under 11 hours in some areas. Taiwan’s government has stepped up preventive measures against tropical storms since typhoon Morakot left more than 400 people dead in its wake in 2009. —AFP