Typhoon Meranti batters south-eastern China and Taiwan

China issued its highest weather warning as Typhoon Meranti swept across the country's south-eastern coast on Thursday, bringing torrential rain and gusts of up to 48 metres per second.

The world's strongest typhoon so far this year was also the most severe in the southern Fujian province since local meteorological records were kept in 1949, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

"We lost power! It's so hot and I am scared, and want this over with," Wang Huijia, a local student in the city of Xiamen, told dpa. 

"The typhoon is really strong. I felt the building shaking," Xuan Xuan, another college student, added.

Wind speeds in the region slowed during the day on Thursday, but are expected to pick up again in the evening, according to weather reports. 

The storm caused severe damage to the power grid in the populous city, causing mass blackout and disrupting electricity supply in outlying islands, according to Xiamen Power Supply Co.

The typhoon hit as China was still recovering from a summer of unusually severe flooding, hail and landslides that had ravaged areas all over the country since June. 

In Taiwan, the severe weather left one person dead, 38 injured and around one million families without electricity, authorities said on Thursday.

Meranti battered the southern part of the island with torrential rain and strong wind on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of 6,500 residents, the Central Emergency Operation Centre said.

The body of a fisherman was found Thursday after the man had fallen into the waters at Kaohsiung Harbour in southern Taiwan the day before.

About 994,270 families were without electricity and 722,700 households without tap water on the eve of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, one of the most important Chinese festivals, which started Thursday.

More than 4,000 military staff were dispatched early Thursday to disaster areas to help affected residents, according to the Ministry of National Defence.

"I appreciate the military assistance offered to local governments on evacuation and relocation," Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said during an inspection of the emergency operation center.

The Central Weather Bureau on Thursday lifted typhoon warnings but urged people to stay alert in mountain and coastal areas, with the Water Resources Agency issuing flood warnings to counties in eastern and southern Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Malakas, which has formed in the Western Pacific, could impact the northern and eastern parts of Taiwan on Friday and Saturday, bureau forecaster Luo Ya-ying said.

Under China's four-tier severe weather warning system, red is the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Last update: Thu, 15/09/2016 - 12:05
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