1:39 pm | Sunday, September 21st, 2014
TAIPEI — Tropical storm Fung-Wong, which left 10 dead in the Philippines, on Sunday pounded Taiwan with torrential downpours and strong winds, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights and ferry services.
The defence ministry has ordered 48,000 soldiers to be on stand-by while fishing boats were advised to seek shelter at ports.
Fung-Wong (locally named Mario in the Philippines) scrapped the southern tip of the island around 10:00 am (0200 GMT) after it veered east away from its forecast route, the Central Weather Bureau said.
The storm brought torrential rains and strong winds which whipped high waves off the south coast, forcing thousands of tourists and surfers to leave the popular Kenting area.
Packing winds of 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour, Fung-Wong had dumped up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) of rain as it tracked north-northeast, the bureau said.
“As heavy rains could trigger landslides, people should stay away from the mountainous areas,” a weather forecaster from the bureau said as the authorities evacuated more than 1,200 residents from areas prone to mudslides.
A total of 57 domestic and seven international flights were cancelled and ferry services to the offshore islands and mainland China were also suspended, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.
Kaohsiung was on alert as authorities deployed water pumps to the main southern city, which is still recovering from a huge blast which killed 30 people and damaged a good part of its drainage system in July.
The storm was expected to churn northwards along the east coast, the Central Weather Bureau said.
It was the second storm to hit the island this year, following Typhoon Matmo in July.
A TransAsia Airways domestic flight crashed after an aborted landing during Matmo, killing 48 people on board while 10 passengers survived.
In the Philippines, Fung-Wong claimed 10 lives, with roof-high floods forcing 83,000 people from their homes, after heavy rains paralyzed the capital Manila and nearby regions.
‘Mario’ changes course, goes straight up to Taiwan
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