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Military prepares for assistance as Super Typhoon Nepartak nears

2016/07/06 18:29:41

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Taipei, July 6 (CNA) The military said Wednesday that it has stepped up preparations for disaster relief operations as Super Typhoon Nepartak approaches Taiwan, with the Central Weather Bureau warning of increasing wind and rough seas.

A total of 35,817 servicemen have been placed on standby to provide relief and rescue assistance as needed, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement, after the weather bureau issued a sea warning for the storm.

The ministry also said that 3,409 military vehicles and 119 inflatable boats are ready to be dispatched to provide disaster assistance.

As of 5:30 p.m., Nepartak was centered 780 kilometers southeast of eastern Taiwan's Hualien, moving at a speed of 30-20 kph in a west-northwesterly direction, according to the weather bureau.

With a radius of 200 km, the storm was carrying maximum sustained winds of 209 kph and gusts of up to 263 kph, bureau data shows.

Ships operating in the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, and in waters off northeastern and southeastern Taiwan, should be on high alert, the bureau warned.

Eastern Taiwan, coastal areas of northern Taiwan, and the Hengchun peninsula in the southernmost part of Taiwan, should also brace for strong winds and heavy seas, the bureau said.

The bureau said it expected to issue a land warning for the strengthening typhoon at 8:30 p.m.

Nepartak is expected to make landfall in Taiwan late Thursday, and its effects are expected to be most strongly felt on Thursday and Friday, the bureau said.

As a precaution, the Pingtung county government has begun evacuating residents in the county's Wutai Township, which is susceptible to landslides in the event of heavy rain. The elderly, children and the sick are the first to be evacuated, it said.

Meanwhile, tourists were also evacuated earlier in the day from Green Island, which lies off the eastern county of Taitung and is a popular tourist destination.

(By Elaine Hou, Kuo Chih-hsuan and Tyson Lu)