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Taiwan evacuates over 2,600 people ahead of Typhoon Malakas

2016/09/17 14:48

A soldier assists residents in Yilan County in evacuating to safety. Photo courtesy of the military.

Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) Over 2,600 residents in four counties and cities in Taiwan were evacuated to safety on Saturday, while some railway lines and flights have suspended service in anticipation of the threat from Typhoon Malakas.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, 2,658 people from New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Yilan County and Hualien County have been evacuated to safety as a precautionary measure, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said it has suspended all services on its Pingxi Line and Shen'ao Line Saturday, as well as services on its North Link Line and Yilan Line around the northeastern part of Taiwan until 6 p.m. that day.

After 6 p.m., North Link Line and Yilan Line, which serve stations from Badu in Keelung to Hualien, will gradually resume normal operations depending on the rain and wind condition, TRA said.

The Taiwan High Speed Rail will maintain its normal schedule Saturday, but some of its trains could slow down or be suspended if the rain and wind are too strong, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, 143 domestic flights and 54 cross-Taiwan Strait or international flights have been cancelled, while 1 domestic flight and 10 cross-strait or international flights have been delayed, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said.

(Six-meter tall waves were seen on the coast of Keelung in northern Taiwan Saturday )

(A backhoe clearing a rockfall in the mountains in southern Taiwan's Chiayi on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Chiayi County government)

(Two missing mountain climbers were rescued by authorities Saturday as Typhoon Malakas approaches. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Fire Department)

Typhoon Malakas, the second storm to affect Taiwan this week and the 16th of the 2016 Pacific typhoon season, is not expected to make landfall on the island but is predicted to turn northeast after its periphery sweeps past the northern part of the island.

The Central Weather Bureau said eastern, northern, northeastern and the Nantou area in central Taiwan could see stronger rain and wind later Saturday.

As of 1:15 p.m., Typhoon Malakas was centered some 110 kilometers east-northeast of northeastern Taiwan's Yilan, moving at a speed of 16 km per hour in a northerly direction, according to data from the bureau.

It is packing maximum sustained winds of 162 kph, with gusts reaching 198 kph, data showed.

(By Christie Chen, Wang Yang-yu and Chen Wei-ting)ENDITEM/csRelated:Typhoon Malakas disrupts flights in Taiwan