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Taiwan on alert as Tropical Storm Hato approaching

2017/08/21 17:29:43

Taipei, Aug. 21 (CNA) The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has activated its disaster prevention system after a land warning was issued for Tropical Storm Hato on Monday afternoon to maintain a secure and stable supply of electricity and water during the storm.

An emergency disaster response panel was set up, the ministry said, and all related authorities were notified to closely monitor the storm's progress.

State-run Taiwan Power Co. spokesman Lin Te-fu (林德福) said the company is checking on the safety of all of its facilities.

Also, all private power plants have been reminded to secure their facilities against harsh weather conditions after a transmission tower used by privately run Ho-Ping power plant was toppled by Typhoon Nesat in late July, taking 1.3 million kilowatts off the grid for two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Water Resources Agency said it has deployed large water pumps in cities and counties around the country to help them prepare for possible flooding.

The agency reminded people residing in low-level areas to pay attention to government warnings of discharges of large volumes of water from upstream reservoirs during the storm period.

In the southeastern county of Taitung, which is expected to be directly threatened by Hato, the local government has designated its mountainous, seaside and riverbank areas as control zones that cannot be entered without permission.

The restrictions were imposed beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, the county government said, and it warned that violators would be fined.

As of 4:15 p.m., Hato, the 13th storm of this year's Pacific typhoon season, was located 350 kilometers east-southeast of Eluanbi, Taiwan's southernmost tip.

The storm was moving in a west-northwest direction at 15-19 kilometers per hour, packing sustained winds of 65 kph, with gusts of up to 90 kph, according to data on the official website of the Central Weather Bureau.

The storm's periphery is approaching the Bashi Channel and will pose a threat to Taitung and Pingtung counties in southern Taiwan, the weather bureau said.

(By Liao Yu-yang, Tyson Lu and Elizabeth Hsu)