TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — As the United States grapples with Hurricane Irma, Taiwan was preparing Monday for an incoming typhoon with a range of alerts, cancellations and evacuations.
Typhoon Talim is due to make landfall late Wednesday. Taiwan's central government was contacting the heads of mountain villages, arranging free evacuations to shelters, monitoring rivers and mudslide-prone areas.
Taiwan is hit by typhoons nearly every year. But it has become much more aggressive about preparations since Typhoon Morakot battered the island in 2009, killing roughly 700 people — most in mudslides.
Residents of the island are also taking warnings more seriously, officials say.
"For Taiwan, the most serious chance of a disaster is heavy rain causing a sudden mudslide. Before Morakot, people were taking chances, sort of like gambling," said Li Wei-sen, secretary-general with the government's National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction.
Taiwan's 23 million people are used to typhoons, but the island's size and its competitive media environment ensures nearly everyone knows what to expect.
"I think we get information everywhere you go," said Ku Lin-lin, associate professor of journalism at National Taiwan University. "Taiwan is a small place. It's got a dense population. Everywhere you go you see a TV monitor showing you information, even in the subway or on the street."