Taiwan braces for heavy rain as Typhoon Meari moves north

13:52, June 24, 2011      

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Parts of Taiwan are bracing for heavy downpours as tropical storm Meari moves northward toward the island from the Philippines.

The island's weather forecast agency said Meari had strengthened into a light typhoon.

At 11 a.m. Friday the typhoon was moving at 28 km per hour over the Philippine Sea, about 510 km southeast of Ouluanpi in Taiwan's southern most county of Pingtung, according to a statement on the agency's official website.

If Typhoon Meari continues moving in the current direction, it will pass over the waters east of Taiwan. However, its outer bands will still bring moderate to heavy rain to the region, the statement said.

More than 300 tourists on Green Island, 33 km east off Taiwan's eastern coast, were evacuated by ship Friday morning. And flights between Orchid Island, another island off the eastern coast, and the main Taiwan Island, have been suspended.

Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) announced Thursday that its 18th National Congress will be postponed to July 2 from the originally scheduled date of June 25, because of the typhoon.

The congress will be held at Taichung and the party's representatives will gather to approve the nomination of Ma Ying-jeou and his running mate Wu Den-yih as the KMT's candidates in the 2012 election of Taiwan regional leader.

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