Thousands evacuated from Taiwan mountain communities as Typhoon Haikui hits

Much of southern Taiwan came to a standstill Sunday as Typhoon Haikui churned over towns and farmland. Residents were urged to stay home and flights, rail transport, ferry services, classes and outdoor events were suspended, but there were no reports of injuries or serious damage.

The storm made landfall in Taitung county on the Pacific-facing east coast around 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) Sunday, bringing sustained winds of 155 kph (96 mph) and gusts of 190 kph (120 mph).

The winds and driving rains forced in unsecured doors, uprooted trees — at least one of which crushed a parked minivan — and caused flooding in some low-lying areas.

By Sunday evening, almost 4,000 people had been evacuated from mountain communities that are at high risk of landslides and flooding, according to the Interior Ministry. Families brought sleeping mats and other necessities to school gymnasiums and public meeting halls, where they were provided with food and drink.

About 75,000 homes temporarily lost power in Taitung and Hualien counties along the east coast, and a guesthouse collapsed on Green Island just off the coast, but no injuries were reported.

There appeared to be little serious damage, and some shops remained open, partly to dispose of locally grown fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste.

Haikui is expected to continue toward China after crossing over Taiwan, and authorities in the Chinese city of Shantou in Guangdong province were advising residents to take precautions.

Twin storms


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