Typhoon heads for China after lashing Taiwan

Typhoon Longwang was swirling towards south-east China after pounding Taiwan on Sunday, leaving one dead, one missing and 46 injured while disrupting flights and downing power lines.

The typhoon made landfall in the east of the island early on Sunday and left in the afternoon, the Central Weather Bureau said.

A 60-year-old man and his wife were hit by an iron bar that smashed into their home in the eastern town of Chian, said the National Fire Agency, which is coordinating rescue operations.

The man died in hospital soon afterwards and his wife remains in critical condition, the agency said.

A woman was washed away by flash floods in the central town of Hoping and is feared dead, it said.

Most of the 46 injured were hurt by flying debris or broken glass in the eastern county of Hualien, which bore the brunt of the storm. A coastal community in Hualien was flooded when high waves smashed through an embankment.

All domestic and international flights were cancelled but international flights were expected to resume later on Sunday, airport officials said.

President Chen Shui-bian, who had been scheduled to return in the morning, detoured to the Indonesian resort island of Bali on his way back from the United Arab Emirates, the foreign ministry said.

Strong winds knocked down power lines, cutting off electricity to about 210 000 homes, but power was expected to be restored by the end of the day, the Taiwan Power Company said.

A freighter with nine Taiwanese and six Filipino sailors aboard ran aground off the eastern city of Hualien after it lost power in rough seas, but the crew was not said to be in danger.

The Central Weather Bureau said the typhoon’s centre was 50km north of the Penghu islands in the Taiwan Strait at 6am GMT.

With a radius of 200km, the typhoon was moving west at 14kph and forecast to make landfall in China’s Fujian province before the day’s end.

Three people were killed and 59 injured when Typhoon Talim pounded the island last month, forcing financial markets, offices and schools to close.

In August last year, Typhoon Aere claimed 24 lives when strong winds and heavy rains triggered mudslides, which buried an entire village in the mountains in northern Hsinchu county.—Sapa-AFP

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