Goni alert lifted, gov’t urges water storage

The China Post news staff and AFP

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) lifted the sea warnings yesterday as Typhoon Goni headed farther away from Taiwan, yet the Taipei Water Department cautioned citizens to store water as a precaution.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Goni was centered east-southeast of Taipei, around 260 kilometers, moving at a speed of 19 kilometers per hour becoming 27 kilometers per hour toward a northeasterly direction. The CWB cautioned that areas from Yunlin, Nantou and Hualien in the north, to the mountainous areas of Yilan and south of Chiayi will likely see heavy rain due to the circulation brought in from the outer rim of Goni. Heavy rain warnings will be issued accordingly, the CWB stated. Offshore islands — Orchid Island, Green Island, Penghu, Kinmen and Dongsha islands will see rough waves and strong winds, the CWB said, and cautioned citizens against taking part in seaside events or activities.

Waiting to Return Home in Wulai Goni weakened as it moved northward off Taiwan’s east coast, but authorities warned of heavy rainfall with particular concern for areas left damaged and waterlogged by Typhoon Soudelor earlier this month. Thousands were evacuated from outlying islands and mountainous areas as a precaution, including 1,500 from the hot spring region of Wulai just outside Taipei, which was devastated by Soudelor. Wulai residents had piled large sandbags along the river to prevent flooding, with the area already receiving 130 millimeters of rainfall in the last two days as Goni approached. Some have been unable to return home since Soudelor due to blocked roads. “We all would love to go home as early as possible,” one evacuee from a tiny village in Wulai, who gave her name as Yukyu, told AFP Sunday. She is one of 80 Wulai residents who have been living in a temporary shelter in Taipei for more than two weeks, bedding down on the floor in sleeping bags. “But any further rains could trigger landslides,” she said. Ahead of the typhoon, 1,700 tourists were also evacuated from outlying tourist destinations, bringing the total number of evacuees to almost 4,000. Authorities warned people not to visit coastal areas due to towering waves. By Sunday afternoon, however, some evacuees were returning home as the storm moved away from Taiwan and there were no reports of serious damage.

Store Water The Taipei Water Department warned Greater Taipei households to store water. Contamination levels have dropped to around 2,000 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units) as of press time and are expected to continue to drop due to measures carried out by the department.

The water department still encourages households located in the mountainous areas of Yangmingshan and Beitou District to store water in case of emergencies.

Those with water-usage questions can enquire on the Taipei Water Department’s 24-hour customer service line at (02) 8733-5678.