Taipei: Typhoon Soudelor barreled toward mainland China on Saturday after downing trees, traffic lights and power lines in Taiwan, where at least six were killed, four are missing and dozens injured.
A total of 101 people were hurt in Taiwan and more than 3 million households lost electricity as the powerful storm left streets strewn with fallen trees. All 279 domestic flights were cancelled today, as well as at least 37 international flights.
An 8-year-girl and her mother died when they were swept out to sea Thursday from a beach on the east coast, the official Central News Agency reported. The girl's twin sister remains missing.
Other casualties included a firefighter who was killed and another injured after being hit by a drunken driver as they attempted to move a fallen tree in the island's south.
The centre of the storm made landfall in eastern Taiwan at 4:40 am today. By mid-morning, Soudelor was packing maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometres per hour, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.
The typhoon weakened later today with top winds of up to 144 kph while moving away from the island in a northwesterly direction.
Strong winds and heavy rains were still expected to continue in Taiwan.
Authorities in southeast China ordered the evacuation of more than 163,000 people and ships back to port ahead of the typhoon, which was expected to hit Fujian province tonight. More than 7,000 soldiers and police were on standby, provincial authorities said.
Yesterday afternoon, marine police rescued 55 university students and teachers trapped on a small island where they had been attending a summer camp, after strong gales stopped ferry services, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.