Powerful Typhoon Soudelor has ripped through central Taiwan with severe winds and torrential rain, killing at least six people and wounding nearly 200 others while leaving some 4 million households without power.
Five more people were reported missing as of 10 pm local time Saturday after the strong storm made landfall on the island nation’s east coast districts of Yilan and Hualien in early morning hours, as all domestic and about 40 international flights were reported cancelled.
Additionally, thousands of people have also been evacuated, with an estimated 1,300 people placed in temporary shelters across the country while all schools and workplaces were reportedly instructed to remain closed on Saturday.
Meanwhile, authorities deployed over 35,000 military servicemen to help with rescue operations in vulnerable areas as the severe typhoon, which also poured more than a meter of rain in some parts of the country, barreled across the Pacific Ocean towards mainland China.
Flood and mudslide alerts have been issued as more rain and wind remains in the forecast for late Saturday and Sunday. The typhoon reportedly crossed the Taiwan Strait and struck the Chinese province of Fujian late on Saturday.
The powerful typhoon brought chaos to parts of southeastern China with severe rainfalls and gale force winds as millions of homes were left without power in the province.
Fujian raised its typhoon alert to the highest level in anticipation of the deadly storm, with reports of further evacuations in neighboring Zhejiang Province.
Rail services and flights have also been cancelled in the path of the storm, and schools and offices have been closed.
Video footage broadcast on local media showed Taiwanese rescue workers struggling to make their way through surging waters, as many were struck with mudslides and flooding.
According to Taiwan Power Company, power outages have so far affected more than 4 million homes across the country in what has been described as the biggest power outage seen on the island as a result of a typhoon.
Meanwhile in China, nearly 185,000 people have been moved to safer areas in the Fujian province, which was struck by the typhoon late Saturday.
Soudelor has been compared to Typhoon Morakot, the deadliest typhoon to hit Taiwan in recorded history. It left 461 people dead and 192 others missing, causing $3 billion worth of damage in 2009.
Another powerful typhoon with the same name battered Taiwan in 2003, leaving 12 people dead and thousands homeless.
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