Taiwan evacuates hundreds ahead of typhoon

2012-08-23 10:02
Strong waves batter breakwaters from approaching Typhoon Tembin in the coastal village of Ilan, Taiwan. (Wally Santana, AP)

Strong waves batter breakwaters from approaching Typhoon Tembin in the coastal village of Ilan, Taiwan. (Wally Santana, AP)

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Hualien - Taiwanese authorities said on Thursday nearly 2 000 people had been evacuated as the island braced for Typhoon Tembin, which is set to bring powerful winds and torrential rains.

Residents along the mountainous east coast are on alert with Tembin forecast to affect the area from the afternoon, while Taiwan as a whole will feel the impact on Friday, said the Central Weather Bureau.

Tembin could make landfall in Taitung in eastern Taiwan on Friday although its path would be affected by Bolaven, another typhoon around 1 600km east of Taiwan, the bureau said.

The bureau listed Tembin as a mid-level typhoon and warned that it will bring torrential rains and trigger mudslides in Ilan and Hualien in the east, where the evacuations were carried out as a precaution, authorities said.

According to Hong Kong Observatory, Tembin has intensified to a "severe typhoon" and is forecast to move slowly west or west-northwest over the next 24 hours.

A total of about 50 000 soldiers were on standby, with 500 already dispatched to assist the evacuation in eastern Taiwan, an area badly hit earlier this month by Typhoon Saola, which killed six people.

So far 103 domestic fights and 13 international flights have been cancelled due to the typhoon, authorities said.

As of 10:15 (local time), Tembin was 250km east of Taitung. With a radius of 180km and packing winds gusting at up to 144km/h, it was moving west at 6km/h.

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