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Cablegate: Taiwan Readies for Typhoons Parma and Melor

VZCZCXRO9920
PP RUEHAST RUEHCN RUEHDH RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
RUEHSL RUEHTM RUEHTRO RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #1195/01 2750849
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020849Z OCT 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2434
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 4719
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 0177
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA PRIORITY 0837
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0822
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001195

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

TATE ALSO FOR S/ES-O/CMS, EAP/TC, CA/OCS, BANGKOK FOR
USAID/OFDA REGIONAL ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON AEMR CASC PREL PGOV SENV XE TW
SUBJECT: TAIWAN READIES FOR TYPHOONS PARMA AND MELOR

1. SUMMARY: (SBU) Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB) on
October 2 predicted course tracks for typhoons Parma and
Melor that would bring potentially torrential rains to
northern and eastern areas of Taiwan October 4-8. Lighter
rains are expected in central and southern areas, which are
still recovering from Typhoon Morakot. Based on CWB
forecasts, authorities will set up the interagency Central
Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) under Vice Premier Eric
Chu's direction. Post-Morakot Reconstruction Deputy
Executive Director General Jenn-Chuan Chern says Taiwan is
prepared for the possible effects of Parma and Melor, with
relief supplies pre-positioned and rescue personnel ready to
move quickly to affected areas. AIT has issued a warden
message and updated staff on our internal procedures. END
SUMMARY.

------------------------------------
HEAVY RAINS LIKELY IN NORTH AND EAST
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) CWB predictions show Typhoon Parma heading towards
Taiwan from the southeast. By 0800 on October 5, the
southern tip of Taiwan may be within the potential track area
of the typhoon (this track area has a probability of 70
percent; see www.cwb.gov.tw for updated weather reports). By
0800 on October 7, the entire island could be within the 70
percent potential track area of Parma. However, this
probable track area for October 7 is quite large, including
the Philippines and the coast of mainland China. Typhoon
Melor is currently located further from Taiwan than Parma,
and shows a predicted track that would keep it east of the
island as it veers north towards Japan. Taiwan through
October 7 will not be within the 70 percent possible track
area of Melor, according to CWB predictions. Whether either
storm actually makes landfall in Taiwan will depend on
atmospheric pressure changes over the Pacific. Regardless of
whether they make landfall, however, when the typhoons are
taken in combination with local seasonal monsoon winds, heavy
rains are expected in northern and eastern regions of Taiwan
October 4-8. Rains in the central and southern areas
affected by Morakot are expected to be lighter.

----------------------------
TAIWAN READIES FOR MORE RAIN
----------------------------

3. (SBU) A CWB "sea warning" will require key Taiwan
agencies and ministers to stand up the interagency Central
Emergency Operations Center under the leadership of Vice
Premier Eric Chu, and a "land warning" will require
additional agencies to participate. The CEOC was last
operational during Typhoon Morakot, which killed over 600
people and caused over USD 300 billion in damage. We
understand from local contacts that numerous agencies have
already reached out to central authorities to ask if the CEOC
will be called into action. CWB continues to monitor both
storms, and will be able to gauge the necessity of sea and
land warnings over the weekend when the tracks become more
clearly defined.

4. (SBU) Post-Morakot Reconstruction Deputy Executive
Director General Jenn-Chuan Chern told us today that Taiwan
was prepared for the possible effects of Parma and Melor,
including in southern regions where Morakot reconstruction
activities were ongoing. Relief supplies were pre-positioned
and rescue personnel were ready to move. Chern noted that
the power to activate local military units for rescue
missions was recently devolved from the central leadership in
Taipei to the county magistrate level, which should improve
the response time and effectiveness of these units across the
island. In addition, these units are now stationed in
strategic areas around the island and are expected to be able
to begin rescue and relief operations within 10 minutes of
receiving an order to act. Chern closed his generally

TAIPEI 00001195 002 OF 002


positive comments on Taiwan's preparedness for Parma and
Melor by announcing to ESTHoff, "God help us." Meanwhile,
Premier Wu Den-yi said yesterday the authorities would
enforce mandatory evacuations from areas threatened by the
typhoons if deemed necessary, and added the CWB should
provide rainfall forecasts in addition to data on wind speed
in order to make vulnerability assessments easier, as well as
issue public statements on weather conditions in laymen's
terms.

5. (SBU) AIT today issued a warden message on Parma and
Melor, as well as reminding staff of our own warden internal
procedures and typhoon-related management instructions.
STANTON

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