Super Typhoon Meranti lashes Taiwan, causes floods and power outages

Super Typhoon Meranti left more than 867,000 households in Taiwan without electricity and one person missing on Wednesday, as the eye of the storm passed close by the south of the island nation.

Meranti, the strongest typhoon this year, has caused 11 injuries in different counties, Li Wei-sen, an official of Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Centre, said late Wednesday.

Some of them were injured when riding scooters or hurt by falling trees, according to Li.

"Luckily, none of them is under critical condition," Li told dpa in a telephone interview.

However, a 58-year-old Taiwanese fisherman went missing after falling into the waters at Kaohsiung Harbour in southern Taiwan Wednesday afternoon, Li said.

"The search has been suspended in the evening due to bad weather conditions," Li said.

Since late Tuesday, powerful winds and torrential rains have hit the east and south of the country, causing schools and most offices to remain closed.

Meranti has caused power outages at 867,700 households in affected areas, according to Li. The water supply to 709,649 families has also been affected.

On the Hengchun Peninsula, floods have left roads unusable. Hundreds of residents in mountainous areas have also been evacuated, according to the local Pingtung government.

The two reactors at a nuclear power plant in Hengchun in Pingtung County were shut down as a safety measure, the state-run Taiwan Power Company said Wednesday.

Ferry services to offshore islands and some train connections have also been suspended.

Southwestern Taiwan began to see strong winds and high waves Wednesday afternoon, as the centre of the typhoon entered the southern Taiwan Strait.

The region is home to Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second biggest city, with a population of 2.8 million people.

"Residents in low-lying coastal areas in Kaohsiung have to be prepared for floods late Wednesday," Li said.

On Wednesday afternoon, in downtown Kaohsiung, shop signs and some roofs were lifted by guests. Glass windows of several stores were broken, the Apple Daily reported.

The country's Central Weather Bureau said late Wednesday that cumulative rainfall in the south could exceed 1,100 millimetres as Meranti passes over the country.

Currently equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane, Meranti has reached wind speeds of up to 73 metres per second. The typhoon is expected to reach southeastern China on Thursday.

Last update: Wed, 14/09/2016 - 17:40
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