Super typhoon Nepartak hits Taiwan: 66 injured and thousands displaced
The tropical storm reached the island this morning at six am. Winds over 230 kilometers per hour and torrential rains. At least 270 thousand homes without power and 35 thousand soldiers deployed in rescue operations. The typhoon is moving northwestward, headed toward the Chinese mainland.
Taipei (AsiaNews) - The "super typhoon" Nepartak made landfall this morning off the coast of Taiwan, bringing torrential rains and winds that exceed 230 kilometers per hour. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected, thousands forced to evacuate. Schools, offices, airports and markets are closed for security reasons. More than 35 thousand soldiers are on hand to help the evacuation maneuvers and rescue of missing persons.
The tropical storm reached the city of Taimali, in the eastern province of Taitung, this morning at 6 am (local time). Because of the winds a man drowned off the coast of Hualien province. At least 9 thousand people have fled their homes due to risk of landslides and flooding. Almost 2 thousand of them have been accommodated in makeshift shelters. Approximately 270 thousand homes have no electricity.
Li Wei-sen, spokesman for the emergencies operations center says that at least 66 people were injured this morning because of strong winds. A Taitung resident said: "The gusts are very strong, many roofs and road signs were uprooted and blown away."
The National Weather Bureau said that the typhoon – with a radius of 200 km - has lost some power after reaching the mainland, but it will continue to wreak havoc throughout the day today. In mountainous areas at least half a meter of rain water is expected.
The storm is moving at 11 km / h and is headed towards the mainland China, where it should arrive tomorrow.
Almost every year, Taiwan is hit by a similar disaster. Last year, the super typhoon Dujuan killed three people and injured 300. In 2009, the storm Morakot devastated the island leaving 600 victims, most of them buried in a landslide in the south of the country.