Typhoon Nanmadol tipped to hit Taiwan, forces delay in campaigning
The serious damage by the typhoon in the Philippines forced President Chen Shui-bian to cancel massive marches and election campaign rallies originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said. Campaign activities of his pro-independence DPP were postponed until next week.
Weather officials said the typhoon, the first-ever winter storm to hit Taiwan, will bring torrential rains, posing the threat of landslides in mountainous areas.
The typhoon weakened somewhat after hitting the Philippines, but its outside rim has fused with the northeastern monsoon to create a synchronized effect expected to bring torrential rains to northeastern and southern Taiwan, said forecaster Wu Te-jung.
Weather forecasters said the typhoon, which was currently moving in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 15 kilometres per hour from the Philippines, was expected to make landfall in southeastern Taiwan on Saturday.
Due to the storm, major campaign aides - including Premier Yu Shyi-kun, Presidential Secretary-general Su Tseng-chang and Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh - were asked by the president to return to their posts to prepare for the typhoon, said DPP secretary-general Chang Chun-hsiung.
The DPP originally was scheduled to mobilize 100,000 supporters to take part in a massive march in Taipei and a campaign rally in the southern city of Kaohsiung, with President Chen campaigning for DPP candidates in the run-up to the December 11 parliamentary elections.
Nanmadol left at least 35 people dead in the Philippines and 160,000 people displaced after sweeping through northern and eastern provinces overnight. dpa le blg