100s evacuate as typhoon nears Taiwan

2013-07-12 13:58
A resident moves stacks of sand bags on a roof to hold back flood waters as typhoon Soulik approaches northern Taiwan in New Taipei City. (Mandy Cheng, AFP)

A resident moves stacks of sand bags on a roof to hold back flood waters as typhoon Soulik approaches northern Taiwan in New Taipei City. (Mandy Cheng, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Taipei - Hundreds of villagers were evacuated and schools and businesses shut down in Taiwan on Friday as it prepared for the arrival of Typhoon Soulik, expected to pound the island with powerful winds and heavy rain over the weekend.

Offices and schools closed in Taipei and eight other cities with residents advised to stay indoors as the typhoon churns towards the island.

Packing winds of up to 209km an hour, Soulik is expected to make landfall on the north-east coast around 03:00 on Saturday (1900 GMT Friday), the Central Weather Bureau said.

The bureau downgraded Soulik from a super typhoon to a moderate typhoon but warned residents across the island to prepare for "extreme torrential rain" - classified as 350mm within 24 hours - and rough seas.

Personal belongings

More than 600 residents were evacuated from six low-lying aboriginal riverside villages outside the capital city on Friday morning.

"I saw TV reporting that the typhoon may bring in up to one metre of rainfall. That would be terrible and reminded me of the painful memories last year," Ginghong Izan, a male migrant from the Amei aboriginal tribe told AFP, speaking outside his home in Hsichou village.

"My TV, computer, refrigerator and furniture were all were flooded when [Typhoon] Saola hit in August. It cost me around $6 670," the 52-year-old said, adding that he started moving valuables to higher parts of his house two days ago.

Saola left six dead, two missing and 16 wounded in Taiwan after taking 23 lives in the Philippines.

Others in the village were busy packing up their personal belongings to take with them and were reinforcing the roofs of the wooden homes they had to leave behind.

2 000 evacuated

In Wuchieh, a township in the north-eastern Yilan county - which is forecast to bear the brunt of Soulik - over 2 000 sandbags were snatched up by residents and two amphibious military vehicles deployed for rescue.

Waves as high as 1.5m were hitting the shore in Yilan on Friday afternoon as coastguards patrolled the beach to warn visitors to stay away while hundreds of fishing boats sought shelter.

"Many farmers have harvested rice, fruits and vegetables early as the typhoon is expected to impact our area," said Huang Hai-tao, an official in Jiaosi, a popular tourist destination in Yilan.

"The typhoon has also caused some damage to tourism as more than 90% bookings for this weekend have been cancelled."

A coastal highway in Yilan where 20 Chinese tourists were killed by landslides caused by Typhoon Megi in 2010 was also closed.

More than 2 000 tourists had already been evacuated from the remote Green Island, south east of Taiwan, on Thursday.

12m waves

In the capital Taipei, schools and businesses closed and in Songshan district one neighbourhood politician toured the streets in his car warning people over a loudspeaker to leave work and go home by 14:00 local time (0700 GMT).

Local television reported traffic gridlock in the capital as people left work early, desperate to get home.

The storm has disrupted travel to and from Taiwan with 65 flights cancelled according to the transport authorities.

President Ma Ying-jeou urged government units and the public "not to let their guards down" in a statement on Friday, after inspecting the central government's disaster response centre.

Measuring 280km aross, Soulik was 360km east-southeast of Yilan at 0600 GMT, according to the weather bureau.

It predicted that the impact would be strongest early on Saturday.

Soulik was moving southeast of Ishigaki Island, south-western Okinawa, with gusts of up to 216km per hour and high waves of 12m earlier Friday.

"We have not so far received any reports of injuries or damage to buildings due to the typhoon," an Ishigaki city official said.

Soulik is moving along the same route as 1996 super-typhoon Herb, which left 51 dead and 22 missing in Taiwan, although it is moving faster, according to the weather bureau.

In August 2009 Typhoon Morakot killed about 600 people in Taiwan, most of them buried in huge landslides in the south, in one of the worst natural disasters to hit the island in recent years.

Read more on:    taiwan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.