Third typhoon of the month hits Taiwan, 32 injured

TAIPEI: Strong wind and rain lashed Taiwan on Tuesday as the third typhoon to hit the island this month made landfall, injuring more than 30 people, ripping signs off buildings and knocking down trees.

Most schools and offices were shut and the north-south bullet train suspended services as Typhoon Megi, packing winds of well over 160 kph (100 mph), roared in from the Pacific and hit eastern Taiwan.

At least 32 people were injured and more than 5,300 evacuated, the government's Central Emergency Operation Centre said, while more than 950,000 households had lost power, according to the main power supplier, Taiwan Power Cooperation.

Taiwan's financial markets were closed because of the storm.

Television footage showed people, who ignored warnings to stay indoors, scurrying along city streets clutching umbrellas to try to fend off the rain, which grew heavier as the storm approached.

Bus and subway services were mostly suspended in the capital, Taipei, while hundreds of international flights were cancelled.

Jen Li-yu, an official with the Central Weather Bureau, said the storm would lose strength after it made landfall though flooding and strong winds would continue.

The typhoon is expected to move across Taiwan and head into the Taiwan Strait and on towards China on Wednesday.

This month, super Typhoon Meranti killed 28 people in China and Taiwan and cut power to more than a million homes.

Typhoons are common in the region at this time of year, picking up strength as they cross warm Pacific waters and bringing fierce wind and rain when they reach land.