TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on May 20 it has put nearly 40,000 soldiers on standby in the event of disasters caused by a weather front that was bringing torrential rain to most of the country.

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) earlier in the day issued an extremely rain warning for northern Taiwan and a heavy rain alert for central and southern parts of the country.

Flood warnings were also issued for Keelung, Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, according to the Water Resources Agency (WRA).

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that early Monday morning, it had set up a disaster response center in preparation for any rescue and relief operations as a result of the heavy rains and had placed 39,000 soldiers on standby.

In addition, the MND said, it had deployed 22 military units, comprising its 135 special forces in total, at 18 locations around the country that are prone to landslides and flooding.

Some of those areas are the mountainous Wulai District in New Taipei, and Fuxing Township in Taoyuan, according to the MND.

A total of 2,300 ground vehicles, 11 aircraft, and 107 rubber rafts are also on standby in the event of flooding or other damage from the torrential rains, the ministry said.

By Joseph Yeh