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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Taiwan lashed by Typhoon Haitang
By Caroline Gluck
BBC News, Taipei

A woman struggles with her umbrella against powerful gusts of wind and torrential rains brought by typhoon Haitang, 18 July, Taipei
Heavy winds and rains may continue overnight
At least 16 people have been injured in one of the most powerful typhoons to hit Taiwan in recent years.

Typhoon Haitang, with winds of up to 184 km/h (114 mph), has already dumped nearly a metre of rain in mountainous areas in the north-east of the island.

Typhoon Haitang is the first of many typhoons likely to hit Taiwan during the summer months.

Officials say it will move towards mainland China overnight, but winds and rains may continue until Tuesday.

The approach of Typhoon Haitang, packing strong winds and heavy rains, forced the closure of schools, government offices and financial markets.

Hundreds of domestic and international flights were suspended, as were rail services.

Evacuations

More than 1,000 people were evacuated from remote mountainous villages in northern Taiwan, as trees were uprooted by strong winds.

The authorities are warning people to be on alert for possible landslides and flash floods.

Local television showed pictures of flooded streets and wrecked shops, with their windows blown out, in the eastern coastal city of Hualien.

In the capital, Taipei, the streets were almost emptied of traffic as people stayed at home, many piling sandbags to prepare for the worst.

The torrential rain has brought down power lines in the north and east of the island leaving tens of thousands of homes without electricity.

The ministry of defence has put military units on standby for post-typhoon rescue and relief efforts.




SEE ALSO:
Rescue work continues in Taiwan
27 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan battered by Typhoon Aere
24 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan struck by deadly flooding
05 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Scores killed by typhoon in China
13 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Taiwan
10 Aug 04 |  Country profiles



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