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Taiwan Preparing for Mid-Strength Typhoon


Taiwan is getting ready to meet a mid-strength typhoon - its strongest typhoon so far this year.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau has issued sea and land warnings for Typhoon Fanapi, which is set to reach Taiwan Sunday with winds up to 191 kilometers per hour.

Central Weather Bureau official Tsang Hsieh-chang spoke Saturday about the coming storm.

The strength of Typhoon Fanapi is nearing the strong typhoon category. He says the storm will come in through the eastern city of Hualien on Sunday morning. The grade-10 storm will hit Hualien, Yilan and northern Taiwan Sunday morning. Tsang warns that the wind and rain will be strongest from Sunday morning to afternoon and may reach the strength of a grade-14 storm.

The bureau also said the storm's impact is likely to be felt over the entire island.

Last year in August, Taiwan was hit with its worst typhoon in five decades which triggered floods and mudslides that killed over 600 people. That typhoon also led to a political storm and backlash against President Ma Ying-jeou's administration because much of the public felt the government was not prepared for the disaster. President Ma's approval rating plunged to 29 percent after last year's storm. He had an approval rating of 66 percent when he was elected a year earlier.

President Ma spoke about the Typhoon Fanapi on Saturday. He said that no typhoon is completely predictable. There will always be accidents so, he hopes, that everyone is prepared.

Over nine thousand residents in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, which was hit hard by last year's disaster, are evacuating before this latest storm hits.

Typhoon Fanapi is Taiwan's 11 typhoon this year.

China issued its highest alert for Typhoon Fanapi. The National Meterological Center said it may be the strongest storm to hit the Chinese mainland this year. It is forecast to make landfall on southern China Sunday night or Monday morning.

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