Four dead, scores injured by Typhoon Megi in Taiwan

Typhoon Megi hit Taiwan's east coast and travelled across the island Tuesday, causing at least four fatalities and nearly 170 injuries as well as major power outages, flooding and damage, authorities and local media reported.

Central Emergency Operations Centre (CEOC) spokesman Li Wei-sen told dpa that four people have already been confirmed dead in typhoon-related incidents, including a worker at the Tsengwen Reservoir who drowned and an elderly person struck by debris in Chiayi county.

The others were the victim of a traffic accident and a man who fell while working on his roof in Yunlin county.

In addition, 167 people were reported injured by the CEOC at 6:15 pm (1015 GMT).

Lee said that figure included eight Japanese tourists who had been injured when their bus flipped over on an expressway in Changhua county, which was reported by the state-owned Central News Agency.

Local television stations reported flooding and landslides in various parts of Taiwan and showed motorcyclists and pedestrians knocked to the ground by heavy winds.

Media also showed scaffolding being blown off the top floor of the former Golden Plaza department store in Taichung City.

The CEOC also reported that 8,116 people had been evacuated from their homes due to the high risk of possible landslides or mudslides.

The state-owned Taiwan Power Company said 3.03 million households had lost power at some time due to the storm, with 1.9 million still without electricity.

The centre of typhoon Megi, the third strong typhoon to strike Taiwan in just over two weeks, made landfall at Hualien City at just after 2 pm, packing sustained winds of 162 kilometres an hour and gusts of up to 198 kilometres per hour.

By 6:15 pm local time, Megi was 40 kilometres south of Taichung city and proceeding west at 16 kilometres per hour. Its winds were only slightly weakened to a maximum sustained 155 kilometres an hour and gusts of 191 kilometres an hour.

The CEOC's Li told dpa the winds and rain of the typhoon would affect much of Taiwan through Wednesday.

Several districts in western and southern Taiwan, as well as Kinmen county off China's Fujian province, have already cancelled work and classes on Wednesday.

Speaking at the CEOC Tuesday morning, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called on all government agencies to "fully mobilize from top to bottom" to carry out preventative evacuations, provide water pumps and earth-moving equipment to deal with landslides, flooding and other damage.

At least 543 international flights were cancelled or delayed and 270 domestic flights were cancelled because of the storm, which also caused the suspension of all high-speed and ordinary rail service and 112 sailings.

China's weather forecasters on Tuesday afternoon issued an orange alert for waves and a yellow alert for storms as Megi approached.  Megi is expected to move from Taiwan to China's southern Fujian coast by Wednesday morning, the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre said.  China uses a four-tier, colour-coded system for inclement weather, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue. 

Last update: Tue, 27/09/2016 - 15:43

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