Taiwan gears up for third typhoon in two weeks

A damaged tent is seen as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien, eastern Taiwan.
A damaged tent is seen as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien, eastern Taiwan.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI • Taiwan evacuated thousands of tourists from outlying islands yesterday and set up nearly 100 shelters islandwide as it braced for its third typhoon in two weeks.

The east coast is still reeling from Super Typhoon Meranti earlier this month - the strongest storm in 21 years to hit Taiwan - followed by Typhoon Malakas.

The same part of the island is in the firing line again from approaching Typhoon Megi, which is already bringing strong winds and waves.

It is due to make landfall on the east coast today and forecast to bring almost a metre of rain to some areas over three days.

Ferries to Taiwan's Green Island and Orchid Island were halted yesterday after more than 3,700 visitors were evacuated over the weekend.

A 700-tonne crane was blown over yesterday at a harbour in the eastern area of Hualien. It crushed a building but no one was injured.

More than 35,000 soldiers are on standby to help with disaster relief and 92 shelters are open.

"The eye of the storm will be closest around noon on Tuesday, affecting Taiwan the whole day," Ms Lin Chih-hui, a forecaster at Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau, told AFP. "There is still a chance it might strengthen," she said.

There is also the risk of landslides in mountainous regions in the north-east, the bureau said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Taiwan gears up for third typhoon in two weeks'. Print Edition | Subscribe