The Sun (Malaysia)

Typhoon leaves trail of destructio­n in Taiwan


Typhoon Haikui toppled hundreds of trees, damaged coastal roads and dumped torrential rains across Taiwan yesterday before it weakened into a severe storm and headed for southern China.

Haikui had initially appeared to depart the island but made a second landfall early yesterday in southwest Kaohsiung, before it was downgraded to a severe tropical storm as it moved out into the Taiwan Strait.

There were no reports of deaths, but destructio­n was seen in coastal Taitung, a mountainou­s county in lesser-populated eastern Taiwan where the storm directly hit the day before.

“I’ve lived here for so long and I have never seen such wind gusts,” said Chen Hai-feng, 55, a village chief in Taitung’s Donghe township, where he was with an early-morning work crew removing trees from a road.

Workers carefully manoeuvred diggers to move downed tree branches and electrical wiring that had snapped and splayed across the rain-drenched road.

Further north in coastal Changbin township, workers ferried massive concrete blocks to a coastal highway that had partially collapsed from the force of waves slamming into it, hoping they would absorb the impact.

Heavy orange-coloured barriers were placed near the edge to prevent cars from skidding over on the slippery roads.

– the first typhoon landfall in Taiwan in four years – forced the evacuation of more than 7,000 people across the island, particular­ly from landslide-prone mountainou­s regions. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and businesses were closed.

A forecaster with Taiwan’s Central

Weather Bureau said Haikui initially appeared to track away from the island and out to sea but made a second landfall in Kaohsiung at around 4am.

During the night, “the centre of the typhoon was almost circling” the port city, but as it moved along the coastline “the structure of the typhoon is damaged by the terrain and gradually weakens”, she said.

By mid-day, the storm had moved southwest of Taiwan’s outlying island of Penghu, but was still bringing torrential rain and strong winds to the south and northeast.

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