HUNDREDS of thousands of people were evacuated from coastal south-east China before a powerful typhoon hit landfall after sweeping across northern Taiwan, killing at least one person.
Typhoon Soulik disrupted transport and industry across the island of Taiwan, with emergency crews around the capital, Taipei, struggling to restore power to some 520,000 homes, and to clear hundreds of trees uprooted by the storm from streets and roads.
The storm then made another landing in the heavily populated Chinese coastal province of Fujian yesterday afternoon, with winds of 74mph, according to China’s National Meteorological Centre.
That was down from the 101mph winds generated by the typhoon when it hit Taiwan around dawn.
About 300,000 people in Fujian were evacuated from their homes, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.
In Fujian and Zhejiang, another coastal province, train services were suspended, flights cancelled and fishing boats called back to ports. China’s weather service warned of possible floods and landslides.
Earlier, torrential rains buffeted large areas of northern and central Taiwan, with Hsinchu and the neighbouring county of Miaoli reporting a total of 31 inches early yesterday.
Schools and businesses throughout northern Taiwan were closed by government order on Friday, and the military evacuated 8,000 people from mountainous villages considered vulnerable to flash floods.
Just after midnight yesterday, a falling brick killed a policeman in the Taipei suburb of Tanshui, while elsewhere, the National Fire Agency reported there were at least 21 injuries.
Dozens of flights at Taipei’s main international airport were cancelled, though operations were expected to return to normal by late yesterday.
Taiwan’s high-speed rail system also suspended operations, at least until early yesterday afternoon.