Tai­wan braces for its first ty­phoon of 2017

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


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

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