Taiwan braces for second storm after Typhoon Nesat injures 103

Tropical storm Haitang expected to make landfall Sunday evening as island issues warnings for two typhoons for first time in 50 years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 July, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 July, 2017, 10:12pm

Taiwan braced for its second storm in two days on Sunday after Typhoon Nesat battered the island, leaving at least 103 injured, and causing flooding and widespread power outages.

Much of Taiwan came to a standstill on Saturday after Nesat made landfall in eastern Yilan county, whipping up massive waves of over 15m and dumping up to 58cm of rain in the southern region of Pingtung.

The typhoon moved away on Sunday as tropical storm Haitang churned towards the south of the island. It was expected to make landfall in the evening, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

It was the first time in 50 years that Taiwan had issued warnings for two typhoons.

“Haitang is gaining some strength and it is expected to bring heavy rains to central and southern Taiwan from tonight to tomorrow,” forecaster Lin Ting-i said on Sunday.

The storm was 170km southwest of Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of the island at 11am. More than 10,000 people had to be evacuated on Saturday, with 5,338 soldiers deployed for disaster relief.

Most train services were suspended and more than 300 domestic and international flights were cancelled or delayed.

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At least 103 people were injured, mostly after being hit by falling objects or in car accidents, while some slipped in the bad weather, according to the central emergency operation centre.

Nearly half a million households were without electricity as Nesat pounded the island with downpours and winds of up to 180km/h.

Pingtung had suffered the worst flooding as of Saturday night, with about 200 residents stranded and later rescued. Images showed flooded homes and motorcyclists pushing their vehicles through water.

About 140,000 households were still without electricity on Sunday, though rail services had mostly resumed.

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Television footage showed soldiers sending food to some homes in Pingtung where streets remained flooded.

Taiwan’s second largest airline EVA Airways said it had cancelled about 50 flights after more than 500 flight attendants took typhoon days off, affecting about 30,000 passengers.

Although Nesat was Taiwan’s first typhoon this year, the island was pounded by heavy rains last month. At least one person was killed after 600mm of rain fell in under 11 hours in some areas.

Nesat made landfall in Fuqing, China’s southeast Fujian province, about 6am on Sunday, according to state media, with authorities issuing a red typhoon alert – the highest in China’s four-tier, colour-coded warning system.

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Emergency response efforts had begun in neighbouring Zhejiang province, where more than 3,000 people had been evacuated, China News Service reported.

Another typhoon, “Begonia”, is expected to make landfall in Fujian either Sunday evening or Monday morning.