, TAIPEI, July 13 – Typhoon Soulik battered Taiwan with torrential rain and powerful winds on Saturday that left one person dead and at least 30 people injured.
As daylight dawned, some areas were submerged by flood waters, roofs were ripped from homes, and debris and fallen trees littered the streets.
More heavy rain and strong winds are predicted throughout Saturday with the authorities warning of landslides and further flooding.
More than 8,000 people were evacuated from their homes before the typhoon hit, many from southern areas prone to landslides.
Soldiers have been deployed to high risk areas and the whole island declared an “alert zone” by the authorities.
In the capital Taipei, a 50 year old police officer died after being hit by bricks that came loose during the typhoon, the Central Emergency Operation Centre said.
Three people were left seriously injured with 31 reported hurt in four cities in northeast Taiwan, most of them hit by trees or flying debris.
Soulik made landfall on the northeast coast around 03:00 am Saturday (2000 GMT Friday), packing winds of up to 190 kilometres an hour (118 miles), the Central Weather Bureau said.
“We expect Soulik to continue to affect Taiwan with heavy rains and strong winds throughout Saturday across Taiwan even though it is moving away and heading towards China,” a weather forecaster from the bureau told AFP.
Nine people had to be rescued from homes in the Shiangshan area of Puli in central Nantou county where flood waters rose one-storey high, according to Wu Yuan-ming, a township official.
“They had to be rescued by firefighters in rubber boats after the river broke its banks. Roads are flooded and mud has been washed into homes this is more serious than we predicted as there has never been any flooding in Shiangshan before.
“Also an earthquake last month probably loosened the ground and triggered the mudslides,” said Wu.