Published on : Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The Government of Taiwan began to evacuate its population from mountain zones as the deadliest storm Typhoon Maria heads towards this island. Offices and schools were closed and flights were cancelled.
Maria was 200 kilometers (120 miles) east-northeast of the northeastern coastal town of Yilan packing gusts of up to 173 kilometers an hour as of 10:00 pm (1400 GMT), the weather bureau said.
The Disaster Response Center said that a total of 3,430 people had evacuated their homes in nine cities and counties by Wednesday morning to avoid landslides triggered by heavy rainfall. The center also said that two people were injured when the storm hit the mountain island town comprising of 23 million population.
The impact of the storm was expected to be strongest from late yesterday to early today although it has weakened slightly in the past few hours, with up to 500mm of rainfall forecast for some areas, the Bureau added.
The authorities said nearly 700 people had been evacuated as of yesterday evening. The local television showed that the soldiers going door to door in a mountainside village in Yilan to help evacuate residents. The Met officials have warned of possible floods and mudslides.
Premier Lai Ching-te also warned the local authorities and the public to “remain vigilant” for the first typhoon of the season in Taiwan. He urged people to stay indoors and cooperate with the government’s disaster prevention plans. The offices and schools closed in eight cities and counties, including Taipei, yesterday afternoon as heavy rains and winds started to pound parts of the island.
Already, typhoon Maria has disrupted air and land traffic, as a total of 145 international flights and 76 flights within Taiwan were cancelled, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.
China Airlines also postponed four flights between Taoyuan and Okinawa from yesterday to today, while Tigerair Taiwan cancelled flights between Taiwan and Japan, Macau and Bangkok.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific said it had cancelled more than a dozen flights between Hong Kong and Taipei, as well as from Hong Kong to Okinawa yesterday and today.
The fishermen in coastal areas brought in their catch and secured their boats ahead of the storm, while farmers rushed to harvest fruit and vegetables. Ferry services to outlying islands were cancelled.