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September 16, 2016

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Most powerful typhoon since 1949 batters Fujian

ONE person died and another is missing after Typhoon Meranti battered southeast China’s mainland with heavy winds and torrential rain yesterday, cutting power, ripping up trees and smashing windows a day after lashing Taiwan.

The super typhoon, packing winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour, made landfall around 3am near the city of Xiamen before heading inland.

Officials in Fujian Province’s Gutian County reported one person dead and one missing during heavy rain.

Images from Xiamen showed flooded streets, uprooted trees, and traffic signs torn from their posts. The storm was the most powerful to hit the province since records began in 1949.

Local media described windows shattered by flying roof tiles with glass fragments littering pavements and water supplies cut off.

“The winds and rain got extremely loud after 3am. The cracking sound of windows and tree branches were also scary. The power went out in the shop several times,” said Su Binglin, a night-shift shop assistant at a 24-hour convenience store.

He said he had to use a metal plate and boxes of bottled water to prevent the front door from shattering.

Xiamen Power Supply Co said the typhoon had severely damaged the city’s power grid, causing mass blackouts for the population of some 3.5 million people. Electricity supplies were also disrupted in Xiamen’s outlying islands.

Train services were disrupted throughout the province as well as in neighboring Jiangxi Province, where 144 trains were canceled.

Officials had earlier urged people to stay at home and ordered ships to return to port as Meranti bore down on the Chinese mainland.

Schools and many businesses were already shut for the holiday.

One person was killed and 51 others were injured when Meranti hit southern Taiwan, according to local officials.

A 58-year-old fisherman was swept out to sea on Wednesday and was found dead early yesterday off Kaohsiung, a city in the south of the island.

The typhoon cut off power to 1.01 million homes, according to the Taiwan Power Company, which added that at least 331,000 households were still without power as of yesterday afternoon.

The island’s Emergency Operation Center said the typhoon had caused estimated economic losses of about NT$100 million (US$3.15 million) in the agricultural sector.

In addition to road closures, about 160 flight routes and 14 shipping lanes were still closed at noon yesterday, putting great pressure on the island’s transport system on the first day of the four-day holiday.

The island was bracing for the possible impact of another storm, Typhoon Malakas, which is forecast to sweep past the east coast of the island tomorrow.


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