The category five storm unleashes winds of over 216 km / h and today will reach the maximum power. Schools, shops and airports closed in the southern and eastern provinces of the island. About 200 thousand homes without electricity. Southern China also on alert for arrival of Meranti in the coming days.
Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Schools and shops are closed, trains and flights canceled, hundreds of thousands of homes are without electricity. Taiwan has been brought to a standstill ahead of the arrival of the super-typhoon Meranti, due to hit its coastline today. The Category 5 storm is considered by experts the most powerful recorded this year in the world.
The super typhoon will make landfall in the southern and eastern provinces of the island, then move up to touch the Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. The Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan has issued the alert for high winds, torrential rains and floods. The maximum recorded so far, Meranti moves at about 216 km/ h, causing the uprooting of several light poles and trees. Spokesman Hsieh Pei-yun, says that the worst is yet to come: "The greatest impact [of the typhoon] on Taiwan will be recorded throughout the day today."
Businesses and schools were forced to close in the city of Kaohsiung (to the south, the second largest in the country), with over 1,500 people evacuated. About 200 thousand homes were left without electricity and airports have canceled both domestic and international flights. The authorities of China's southern provinces have already prepared the evacuation of the population and have begun to suppress the rail service waiting for the storm.
Meranti follows just two months after Nepartak, which last July left at least 66 people wounded, and tens of thousands of displaced people in Taiwan. Last year the super-typhoon Dujuan killed three people and injured 300. In 2009, storm Morakot devastated the island leaving 600 victims, most of them buried in a landslide in the south of the country.