08/24/2012, 00.00
TAIWAN
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Typhoon Tembin hits Taiwan: heavy rains, but limited damage

Landfall on the southern coast of Pingtung. The winds uprooted trees and blown off roofs, but there are no injuries. The authorities evacuated 5 thousand people and closed access to areas most at risk. The emergency is not over yet, forecast the arrival of another storm. Experts warn of critical situations for tomorrow.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Typhoon Tembin struck off the coast of Taiwan this morning, uncovering roofs and knocking down trees in the most exposed areas in the south. After torrential rain, it headed offshore saving most of the territory. In recent days, the authorities had prepared a contingency plan, which limited the damage, the areas most at risk were evacuated earlier to ensure the safety of the local population. After the disaster caused by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009, which sowed death and destruction (see AsiaNews 14/08/2009 Taipei, Morakot death toll "over 500"), Taipei drew up preventive plans against typhoons and to protect the environment.

The Hong Kong Observatory defined Tembin, which reached the southern county of Pingtung at 5 am local time, as "intense". The winds swept away trees and blew off the roofs of houses, with damage concentrated in the coastal village of Tawu.

The police blocked the roads in places considered critical and at risk of landslides or floods. Access was allowed only to emergency vehicles and people in emergency situations. At least 5 thousand people were evacuated from the most dangerous areas, including some mountain villages at risk of isolation in the event of landslides or flooding.

Experts do not exclude the possibility that Tembin could interact with Bolaven, another storm approaching the coast of Taiwan at great speed. In that case, the typhoon could return to the island tomorrow, bringing new and heavy rains. The Taipei government has however responded adequately to the emergency, reinforced by the dramatic experience of three years ago.

In August 2009, Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan with unexpected violence, the most powerful in more than half a century. In a few hours it unleashed more than three feet of rain on the island, flooding homes and roads, destroying bridges and structures. It left hundreds of dead and missing, and more than 25 thousand people homeless. The flood water and mud destroyed 136,400 homes and inflicted damage to agriculture to the tune of 14.4 billion Taiwan dollars (300 million euros).

 

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