Military steps up preparations as storm nears (update)

07/22/2014 09:56 PM
Photo courtesy of the Republic of China Marine Corps
Photo courtesy of the Republic of China Marine Corps

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan's military said Tuesday that it has stepped up preparations for disaster relief operations after a land and a sea warning was issued for Typhoon Matmo, which is expected to dump heavy rains on Taiwan.

The Central Weather Bureau issued the land advisory earlier in the day, warning the public of strong winds, as well as extremely heavy to extremely torrential rain over the next two days from the storm, which is expected to make landfall in Taiwan in the early hours of 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.

Meanwhile, the military said it has space at 107 military bases around Taiwan that can be used as emergency shelters in the event of flooding.

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 9 p.m. Tuesday, the storm was centered 150 kilometers south of Hualien, moving northwest at a speed of about 20 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/pc

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