Taiwan braces for Typhoon Parma

Taiwanese authorities on Saturday urged residents to take precautions as Typhoon Parma churned towards the island, less than two months after a typhoon claimed more than 600 lives there.
Parma, which was nearing the Philippine island of Luzon, was expected to bring powerful winds and torrential rains across Taiwan over the weekend, the weather bureau said.
Residents of six villages in southern Kaohsiung county, which was hit hardest by Typhoon Morakot, began evacuating from their mountain homes on Saturday, reported the TVBS news channel.
Taiwan’s government, which was criticised for its slow and inefficient response to Morakot, earlier this week issued mandatory evacuation orders for dangerous areas.
At 8:30 am (0030 GMT), the typhoon was 550 kilometres (341 miles) south-southeast of the southernmost tip of Oluanpi, moving northwest at 13 kilometres an hour and packing gusts of 155 kilometres an hour.
Morakot, which was the worst typhoon to hit Taiwan in half a century, left at least 619 people dead when it slammed into the island in early August, triggering widespread flooding in the south.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2009