(From AFP)

Super typhoon whipped up strong waves along the coast
‘Super typhoon’ Dujuan whipped up strong waves along Taiwanese coast

A typhoon caused at least three deaths in Taiwan, authorities said Tuesday, as gales and rainstorms moved on to batter mainland China’s eastern coast.

Strong winds and heavy rain brought by Typhoon Dujuan late Monday caused the death of a 70-year-old man in New Taipei City, a 54-year-old man in central Taichung City, and a 41-year-old woman in Taipei City, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.

More than 340 people were injured around the island due to the storm, which was packing maximum sustained winds of 144 kilometers per hour and gusts of 180 kph.The storm hit the Chinese coastal city of Putian Tuesday morning, state news agency Xinhua said, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

Many of the injured in Taiwan were hit by flying debris or involved in traffic accidents, the emergency operation center said. It put the death toll at two and the number of injured at 324.’

More than 12,000 people have been evacuated and almost 3000 are in temporary shelters, authorities said.

Taiwan’s aboriginal mountain communities are particularly at risk during typhoons, often affected by flooding and mudslides.

Landslides blocked the roads into the hot spring town of Wulai, in mountains just outside the capital, Taipei.

It was the latest hit for Wulai which was severely damaged by flooding and landslides in August when typhoon Soudelor hit. Some residents were unable to return home for weeks. Many shops and hotels were still rebuilding even as the latest typhoon struck.

“The roads are blocked but residents are not in any immediate danger,” a spokesman for New Taipei city fire department said.

Dujuan was categorised as a “super typhoon” by regional forecasters, taking residents by surprise as it sped up before reaching land late Monday in the eastern county of Yilan.

It was downgraded to a “moderate typhoon” by Taiwan’s central weather bureau as it crossed the island.

“It’s expected the typhoon will continue to weaken and its radius to keep shrinking,” the weather bureau said.

Schools and offices in Taiwan remained shut Tuesday and the stock market was closed.

At the peak of the storm, 2 million homes were left without electricity. On Tuesday morning 498,458 were still without power.

Towering waves crashed through windows at a seaside hotel in eastern Yilan and fierce winds also damaged Taipei’s famous 101 skyscraper.

In Hsinchu city, a crane fell from 20 storeys on to cars below but no one was injured, local reports said.

Performances by the US rock band Bon Jovi, due to take place in Taipei Monday and Tuesday, were cancelled.

China’s national meteorological centre issued a red alert Monday afternoon, Xinhua reported, adding that 260,000 people have been evacuated in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

Tens of thousands of boats were called back to shore in Zhejiang and neighbouring Fujian province and all flights at three airports in Fujian were cancelled on Tuesday, state media said.

Typhoon Soudelor caused at least eight deaths in Taiwan last month and killed 21 people in  China.

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