Typhoon Koinu lashes southern Taiwan, kills one person

‘Puppy’ typhoon heads to other parts of Southeast Asia after causing death and destruction in Taiwan’s Hengchun peninsula.

A car passes by power lines downed by the high winds from Typhoon Koinu in Taiwan's southern Pingtung County.
The category 4 typhoon made landfall on Taiwan's Hengchun peninsula [Sean Chang/AFP]

Typhoon Koinu has lashed southern Taiwan, killing one person and injuring hundreds of others, while also leaving localised damage.

The category 4 typhoon made landfall on Taiwan’s Hengchun peninsula on Thursday morning, causing flight suspensions and the closure of work and schools for millions of people.

Flying glass during the typhoon killed one person in the central city of Taichung, according to Taiwan’s fire department.

Strong winds battered some buildings and trees, while social media pictures from Orchid Island off the southeast coast showed cars blown off roads, fishing boats sunk in a harbour and smashed school windows.

A weather tracking station on Orchid Island, home to 5,000 people, recorded Taiwan’s strongest wind in 126 years as the typhoon hit on Wednesday evening, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency.

A total of 46 international flights were cancelled, according to the transport ministry, ferries to outlying islands were stopped, and Taiwan’s two main domestic airlines also called off most flights that were scheduled for Thursday. High-speed rail connecting northern and southern Taiwan followed regular operations.

The typhoon affected the key southern port city, Kaohsiung, while the island’s capital and home to financial markets, Taipei, was marked safe and operated as normal.

The heaviest rain fell in mountainous and sparsely populated parts of Pingtung county in the south, and the east coast counties of Taitung and Hualien, according to Reuters news agency. Substantial rain has also been forecast to last into Friday, mostly in the island’s south and east

Koinu, or “puppy” typhoon in Japanese, weakened as it brushed past the Taiwan Strait and is headed towards China’s Guangdong province, according to the Tropical Storm Risk tracker.

Taiwan has been struck by other typhoons as well in recent months.

Last month, Typhoon Haiku made landfall in eastern Taiwan and prompted the evacuation of 4,000 people from high-risk areas.

In August, Taiwan was hit with Typhoon Doksuri, which also prompted school, work and flight suspensions in the southern part of the island.

Source: News Agencies