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Fishermen in raincoats walk past fishing boats as Typhoon Matmo approaches the northeastern coastal town of Nanfangao in Ilan county, northern Taiwan, July 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang


TAIPEI/MANILA (Reuters) - The Taiwan military was collecting and distributing sandbags to guard against possible flooding on Tuesday as a typhoon bore down on the island after brushing the Philippines.

Typhoon Matmo, a category-two cyclone on Tropical Storm Risk's scale of one to five, was approaching from the southeast and was expected to strengthen until it hits on Tuesday night and moves on to China.

"People everywhere should prepare for strong winds and rain," weather forecaster Lin Chih-hui said. "The closer Matmo gets, the more powerful it will be."

Taiwan has sent troops from the northern city of I-lan to get sandbags ready, while financial markets, companies and schools were expected to close on Wednesday.

Matmo arrived just a week after Typhoon Rammasun killed 97 people in the Philippines and 46 in China with another 25 still missing. The China Meteorological Administration said Rammasun was the strongest storm to strike southern China since 1973.

Typhoons are common at this time of year in the South China Sea, picking up strength from the warm waters and dissipating over land.

(Reporting by Faith Hung in Taipei, Manuel Mogato in Manila, Megha Rajagopalan in Beijing and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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