Typhoon spurs evacuation in Taiwan

A Taiwanese Coast Guard officer patrolling a harbour in Yilan county as Typhoon Malakas approaches eastern Taiwan. Malakas is not expected to make landfall in Taiwan.
A Taiwanese Coast Guard officer patrolling a harbour in Yilan county as Typhoon Malakas approaches eastern Taiwan. Malakas is not expected to make landfall in Taiwan.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Over 2,600 moved to safety, flights cancelled as second storm in a week approaches island

TAIPEI • More than 2,600 residents were evacuated in Taiwan, dozens of flights were cancelled and train services suspended as Typhoon Malakas bore down on the island, the second storm to affect Taiwan in a week.

As of 8am yesterday, 2,658 people in New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Yilan and Hualien had been evacuated as a precaution, Central News Agency reported, citing the Central Emergency Operation Centre.

There were no reports of injury as of 4pm yesterday.

Also by 4pm, 68 flights had been cancelled or delayed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, affecting around 12,800 passengers, the company that runs the airport said.

A total of 143 flights serving routes within Taiwan were also cancelled.

By 4pm, 68 flights had been cancelled or delayed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, affecting around 12,800 passengers. A total of 143 flights serving routes within Taiwan were also cancelled.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Railways Administration said it was suspending all services on its Pingxi Line and Shen'ao Line, as well as services on its North Link Line and Yilan Line around the north-eastern part of Taiwan until 6pm yesterday.

The Taiwan High Speed Rail was maintaining its normal schedule, but could slow some of its trains or suspend service if the rain and wind proved to be too strong, Central News Agency reported.

Malakas, the 16th in this year's Pacific typhoon season, is not expected to make landfall in Taiwan but is predicted to turn north-east after its periphery sweeps past the northern part of the island.

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

As of 5.30pm, Malakas was centred some 140km east to north-east of Taipei, moving at a speed of 12kmh in a north to north-easterly direction, the Central Weather Bureau data showed. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 162kmh, with gusts reaching 198kmh.

Malakas came almost immediately on the heels of Typhoon Meranti, which left one person dead and 38 injured. Meranti went on to kill at least 28 in China.

China's meteorological authority issued an orange alert, the second- highest level in a four-tier warning system, for Malakas yesterday, said state news agency Xinhua.

South Korea was also bracing itself for Malakas, which brought heavy rain to the southern port city of Busan yesterday, Yonhap news agency reported. The country's weather service issued advisories or warnings for several southern cities, including Ulsan and Busan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline 'Typhoon spurs evacuation in Taiwan'. Print Edition | Subscribe