Wednesday 26 October 2016

Five killed as massive typhoon hits eastern China and Taiwan

Published 28/09/2016 | 10:46

A woman struggles with her umbrella against powerful gusts of wind generated by Typhoon Megi across Taiwan (AP)
A woman struggles with her umbrella against powerful gusts of wind generated by Typhoon Megi across Taiwan (AP)

A massive typhoon has left one person dead in eastern China, a day after killing four and injuring more than 600 in Taiwan, where authorities remained on alert for the possibility of a landslide.

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Typhoon Megi caused more than 10 million US dollars in damage as it swept across Taiwan before weakening into a tropical storm after hitting the coastal city of Quanzhou in China's Fujian province before dawn on Wednesday, Taiwan's weather service said.

At its height, it was packing winds of up to 74mph (118kph), China's National Meteorological Centre said.

One person died after several structures collapsed in Quanzhou, the official China News Service reported. Schools were closed and dozens of flights were cancelled.

In Fuzhou, Fujian's capital, state television showed people wading through knee-deep water which had swamped major roads. Rescue workers were seen pulling stranded residents through the streets on inflatable boats.

The storm was forecast to move north-west on Wednesday and gradually fade away.

In Taiwan, nearly four million homes lost power and 10 provincial highways remained closed on Wednesday, a day after heavy rain and sustained winds of 100mph (160kph) blanketed the island, Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported. More than 4,800 people remained in emergency shelters on Wednesday afternoon.

Taiwan's Central Emergency Operations Centre reported that the 625 injured included eight Japanese tourists travelling in a tour bus which overturned in central Taiwan. Three people suffered fatal falls and a fourth person died in a truck crash, the centre said.

Many of the injuries were caused by falling and wind-blown objects. Three state utility workers were injured when their truck tumbled into a valley while they were trying to restore power in a mountainous area, the Central News Agency reported.

A spokesman for the centre said emergency officials were closely monitoring Taiwan's mountain regions for possible landslides. They were also working to restore power and water.

Megi was 310 miles (500km) in diameter at its largest, and rainfall had topped 12in (300mm) in the south and eastern mountains of Taiwan.

More than 8,000 people were evacuated, mostly from mountainous areas at risk of landslides or floods. The weather forced the cancellation of 224 flights at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport. Authorities closed schools, offices and most of Taiwan's railway system on Tuesday.

Megi was the fourth typhoon of the year to hit Taiwan and third in the last two weeks.

On the Chinese coast, about 100 miles (160km) from Taiwan at its nearest point, fishing boats were ordered back to port, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.


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