Massive typhoon hits eastern China after killing 4 in Taiwan

BEIJING: A massive typhoon made landfall in eastern China Wednesday, a day after carrying strong winds over Taiwan that felled trees and scattered debris, killing at least four people and injuring more than 260.

Typhoon Megi weakened to a tropical storm after hitting the coastal city of Quanzhou in Fujian province before dawn Wednesday, packing winds of up to 118 kilometers (74 miles) per hour, China's National Meteorological Centre said. No injuries were immediately reported.

In Taiwan on Tuesday, the typhoon's bands of heavy rain and sustained winds of 162 kilometers (100 miles) per hour blanketed the island by mid afternoon as the eye of the storm made landfall on the east coast. Authorities had raised alert levels for Taiwan, which is prone to landslides and flooding, said National Fire Agency Director-General Chen Wen-lung.

The 268 injuries included eight Japanese tourists traveling in a tour bus that turned on its side in central Taiwan. Three people suffered fatal falls and a fourth person died in a truck crash, said Lee Wei-sen, a spokesman for Taiwan's Central Emergency Operations Centre. Many of the injuries were from falling and wind-blown objects.

Megi is 500 kilometers (310 miles) in diameter, and rainfall had topped 300 millimeters (12 inches) in the south and eastern mountains of Taiwan.

More than 8,000 people were evacuated, mostly from mountainous areas at risk of landslides or floods. About 2,800 went to shelters, Chen said.

More than 2.9 million households lost power, though 976,000 had been restored by late Tuesday, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.

More than 121 flights were delayed and 253 cancelled at Taoyuan International Airport, and seven were diverted to other Taiwanese airports. Authorities had closed schools, offices and most of Taiwan's railway system.

Megi is the fourth typhoon of the year to hit Taiwan.

On the Chinese coast, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Taiwan at its nearest point, fishing boats were ordered back to port, China's official Xinhua News Agency said.