Taiwan braces for arrival of Typhoon Megi on Tuesday

Taiwan residents affected by Super Typhoon Meranti being evacuated on a military armoured vehicle on Sept 14, 2016.
Taiwan residents affected by Super Typhoon Meranti being evacuated on a military armoured vehicle on Sept 14, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI (AFP, REUTERS) – Flights and trains in Taiwan were disrupted by the approach of the third typhoon this month and most cities planned work and school closures for Tuesday (Sept 27).

The island’s financial markets will also be shut, financial regulators said.

Typhoon Megi is expected to make landfall on the island’s eastern coast on Tuesday afternoon. “Apart from heavy rains, there will be huge wind gusts,” Hsieh Ming-chang, a Central Weather Bureau official, said on television.

The island’s bullet train said it would suspend services on Tuesday. 

EVA Airways Corp, one of Taiwan’s main international airlines, said it was cancelling or rescheduling some international flights.

Ahead of the typhoon's arrival, Taiwan evacuated thousands of tourists from outlying islands Monday and set up nearly 100 shelters across the island 

Its east coast is still reeling from damage caused by Super Typhoon Meranti earlier this month - the strongest storm for 21 years to hit Taiwan - followed by Typhoon Malakas.

The same part of the island is in the firing line again from approaching Typhoon Megi, which is already bringing strong winds and waves.

Ferries to Taiwan's Green Island and Orchid Island were halted Monday after more than 3,700 visitors were evacuated over the weekend.

A 700-ton crane was blown over Monday at a harbour in the eastern area of Hualien. It crushed a nearby building but no one was injured.

More than 35,000 soldiers are on standby to help with disaster relief and 92 shelters are open for residents.

Mountainous regions in the north-eastern county of Yilan and Hualien - already hit by the previous storms - could be lashed by up to 900mm of rain through Wednesday, increasing the risk of landslides, the weather bureau said.

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