Typhoon shuts down southern Taiwan

Reuters , Monday 29 Aug 2011

Typhoon Nanmadol makes landfall in Taiwan, bringing heavy rains and winds of around 35 metres per second and forcing evacuations

Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall in Taiwan early on Monday, bringing heavy rains and winds of around 35 metres per second and forcing evacuations in the island's south and east, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage.

Mindful of the fierce criticism it received for its handling of deadly typhoon Morakot in 2009, and with presidential elections looming, the government had deployed some 35,000 soldiers and evacuated over 3,000 residents, mostly in the island's rural, mountainous southeast, ahead of the storm.

Nanmadol hit the northern Philippines late last week, killing 12 and injuring 21, the country's national disaster council said on Monday. Nearly 14,000 people were being housed in evacuation centres.

Storm Nanmadol is the first of the season to make landfall in Taiwan. It is expected to cross the island's south before weakening and heading for China.

Storm tracking service Tropical Storm Risk puts the storm currently at Category 1, the lowest on the scale, and sees it weakening to a tropical storm in 12 hours. See http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/

Businesses in Taiwan's south and east were ordered closed on Monday, but businesses and financial markets in the capital Taipei were functioning as normal. Schools were closed across the island and domestic and international flights disrupted.

In August 2009 typhoon Morakot cut a wide swathe of destruction across southern Taiwan, leaving some 700 people dead or missing including over 400 in a village that was buried in a landslide.

President Ma Ying-jeou was forced to publicly apologise for the government's handling of the disaster and then-Premier Liu Chao-shiuan resigned to take responsibility. Rebuilding from that storm is still going on. Taiwanese will vote in presidential elections in January.

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