Typhoon Sinlaku pounds Taiwan

A typhoon pounded Taiwan on Saturday, bringing torrential rains and triggering landslides in the central and northern part of the island, the national fire agency said. One person was reported injured.

At 7am GMT, Typhoon Sinlaku was 90km east of Ilan on the north-east coast, packing winds of up to 209km/h, the island’s Central Weather Bureau and local media reported.

Schools and offices in the capital, Taipei, were ordered closed on Saturday. Surrounding areas have faced strong weather warnings since late on Friday.

Television images showed heavy seas and pouring rain in a coastal part of Hualien, where some trees had been uprooted. Most flights at the island’s airports have also been cancelled.

“Up to now, we just know one person was injured and we also see some landslides but repair works are under way,” an official at the agency told Reuters.

The category-three storm was expected to blanket the island before moving on towards Japan, possibly gathering strength, the Central News Agency and the forecasting website Tropical Storm Risk said.

The Xinhua news agency, meanwhile, said Sinlaku was expected to make landfall in eastern China on Sunday morning, battering the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. Taiwan government officials advised people staying away from schools and workplaces to avoid flying debris. The weather bureau said people should stay away from beaches and mudslide-prone mountains.

Sinlaku will be the fourth typhoon to hit Taiwan this year. On July 18, typhoon Kalmaegi killed at least 20 people and caused extensive flooding, landslides and crop damage in the south and central part of the island.—Reuters

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