Military stepping up preparations as storm nears

07/22/2014 01:41 PM

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan's military said Tuesday that it has stepped up preparations for disaster relief operations after a land warning was issued for Typhoon Matmo.

The Central Weather Bureau issued the advisory in the early hours of Tuesday morning, warning the public of extremely heavy to extremely torrential rain over the next two days from the storm, which is expected to make landfall in Taiwan early Wednesday morning.

More than 55,000 servicemen have been placed on standby to provide relief and rescue assistance as needed, and 24 planes, 12 AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles, 478 water pumps and more than 200 military vehicles are ready for deployment, the Ministry of National Defense said.

The military will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide timely relief assistance as necessary, it said.

The weather bureau forecast torrential rain or extremely torrential rain for mountainous areas in the eastern counties of Yilan, Hualien, Taitung and in counties north of Taichung from Tuesday through Wednesday.

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the storm was centered 290 kilometers south-southeast of Hualien, moving north-northwest at a speed of 22 km per hour.

Matmo, expected to be the first typhoon to directly hit Taiwan this year, was packing sustained winds of 137 kph, with gusts reaching 173 kph, according to the weather bureau.

(By Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/ls

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