Be careful about Typhoon Rananim

TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post Editorial

One day after the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) predicted it would probably pose a threat to Taiwan, Typhoon Rananim suddenly changed it course and churned toward the island, and may make landfall in the eastern county of Ilan. Typhoons that hit the island at Ilan first, according to CWB records, are likely to bring unusually heavy rains, so the weatherman has warned the public to watch out for downpours and flooding. The caution must be heeded. Typhoons are familiar to all long-time residents of Taiwan, but some people are not cautious enough in taking preventive measures. Others may underestimate the powers of a killer typhoon.

There are, for example, frequent media reports of individuals getting carried away by surging waves and drowned while “enjoying” the scenery at the beach as a typhoon is raging. Early last month Typhoon Mindulle wreaked extensive havoc in central and southern Taiwan, triggering downpours that caused disastrous mudslides. Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. The destruction from the storm was compared with the calamitous earthquake that rocked Taiwan on September 21, 1999.

The aftermath of Mindulle developed into a lingering political event that involved aborigines and Vice President Annette Lu.

The government authorities in northern Taiwan must make intensive efforts to minimize the impact of the coming storm, which could generate rainfall that equals that triggered by Mindulle. Although, because the north is generally less mountainous and the chance of serious mudslides is slim, flooding in low-lying areas is likely to occur.

When it comes to guarding against a typhoon, no amount of effort should be spared.