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Taiwan readies for deadly Typhoon Nanmadol
Storm, which killed eight in the Philippines, set to hit island, bringing heavy rains and risk of deadly mudslides.
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2011 20:05
Four people were killed as the retaining wall of a rubbish dump collapsed in the city of Baguio [Reuters]

Typhoon Nanmadol has killed at least eight people and left flattened bridges and blocked roads in its wake as it moved away from the Philippines towards Taiwan.

Taiwan evacuated 2,500 villagers of the 3,700 people it plans to evacuate from the east and south of the island, the Central Emergency Centre said on Sunday, as it braces for the typhoon's arrival early on Monday morning.

Authorities urged the public to stay away from mountainous and low-lying areas while the defence ministry ordered 35,000 soldiers in the east to be on stand by.

Steff Gaulter, Al Jazeera's senior meteorologist, said the storm was forecast to hit the south coast of Taiwan at approximately 3am local time on Monday.

"When it does [hit], the main problems will be caused by the excessive rains, rather than the strength of the wind," Gaulter said.

"After the recent torrential rains on the island, the ground is saturated and this, combined with the mountainous terrain, could easily trigger deadly mudslides.

"So, although it is forecast to disintegrate quickly in about 12 hours time, it could easily change track or change intensity without warning."

In the Philippines, five people were killed by landslides including two children buried by an avalanche of rubbish at a tip in the northern mountain city of Baguio, the civil defence office said.

Two more people drowned while another was crushed by a falling wall, weakened by the rain.

Toll expected to rise

A further six people are considered missing after vanishing at sea or being swept away by overflowing rivers as Nanmadol brought heavy rain to the northern Philippines, the office said.

The toll of dead and missing was likely to rise as officials assessed the full impact of the storm, Emilia Tadeo of the civil defence damage report section said.

"After the rains have subsided, that is only when we find the additional casualties and damages, when the local responders submit them to us," Tadeo told AFP.

Eight bridges were destroyed and 20 major roads rendered impassable when Nanmadol hit with gusts of up to 230 kilometres per hour, the civil defence office said.

More than 57,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to the risk of floods and landslides in the mountainous north.

An average of 20 storms and typhoons, many of them deadly, hit the Philippines annually. The last storms, Nock-ten and Muifa, left at least 70 dead when they hit in July.

A bus driver ordered his 18 passengers to rapidly alight after sensing the soggy mountain road they were on was about to collapse late Saturday in northern Benguet province.

After they ran to safety, the road collapsed with the bus down a deep ravine, said disaster-response official Olive Luces said.

"The driver's presence of mind prevented a disaster," Luces said.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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