Typhoon Megi kills four, leaves trail of damage in Taiwan

Typhoon Megi approaches Taiwan's east coast, bringing strong winds and rain.
A man braves heavy rains as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, on Sept 27, 2016.
A man braves heavy rains as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, on Sept 27, 2016.PHOTO: EPA
People brave heavy rains and strong wind as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, on Sept 27, 2016.
People brave heavy rains and strong wind as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, on Sept 27, 2016.PHOTO: EPA
A man braves heavy rains and strong wind as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, on Sept 27, 2016.
A man braves heavy rains and strong wind as Typhoon Megi hits Hualien county, eastern Taiwan, on Sept 27, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI (REUTERS, AFP) – The third typhoon to hit Taiwan in two weeks killed four people and injured scores Tuesday (Sept 27), bringing violent winds and heavy rain as schools and offices closed.

One man aged 40 died in a car accident in high winds while a 65-year-old man was killed when he was hit by falling scaffolding, and a 17-year-old boy drowned when his boat overturned, authorities said, with the deaths all in the south.

Also in the south, a 48-year-old man fell to his death as he was repairing the roof of a house.

At least 167 people were injured, including seven Japanese tourists and a local guide when their bus was bowled over by winds on a highway in central Taiwan, according to the national fire agency.

At 1000 GMT (6pm Singapore) Megi was 40km south of the central city of Taichung, packing gusts of up to 191km per hour. It is moving at 15km per hour.

More than 35,000 soldiers are on standby to help with disaster relief.

Taiwan’s financial markets were closed because of the storm.

Television footage showed people, who ignored warnings to stay indoors, scurrying along city streets clutching umbrellas to try to fend off the rain.

Bus and subway services were mostly suspended in the capital, Taipei, while hundreds of international flights were cancelled.

The typhoon is expected to move across Taiwan and head into the Taiwan Strait and on towards China on Wednesday where it will make landfall in the south-eastern province of Fujian.

China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said it had ordered authorities across a large swathe of southern and eastern China to step up disaster prevention preparations.

“Typhoon Megi has weakened slightly in the past three hours but it will continue to bring winds and rains to Taiwan till tomorrow,” said weather bureau forecaster Hung Jen-sheng.

Ahead of the storm, 3,700 tourists had been evacuated at the weekend from Orchid Island and Green Island.

Hualien and Taitung were first to be hit by the storm.

Those areas are still recovering from damage brought by Super Typhoon Meranti earlier this month – the strongest storm for 21 years to hit Taiwan.

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