A powerful typhoon hit Taiwan on Saturday with strong wind and heavy rain, cutting power to 3.62 million houses. Four people were missing and 101 were injured. Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled and more than 9,900 people were evacuated from their homes. Television showed trees uprooted and power poles fell over, a motorbike being swept into the air by wind and shipping containers piled on top of each other at a port.
"The storm will weaken but we expect more rain, particularly in southern Taiwan," said Wang Shih-chien, an official with the island's Central Weather Bureau. The storm made landfall early on the island's east-coast counties of Yilan and Hualien, bringing more than 1,000 mm of rain in the areas and wind up to 200 kph.
Although the eye of Typhoon Soudelor passed Taiwan, and was heading toward mainland China, rain was expected to continue on the island until Sunday morning. "This is one of the worst typhoons I have ever seen," said an engineer surnamed Jiang, who was inspecting pumping stations early on Saturday in eastern Taiwan. "My car was shaking when I was driving. There are too many trees down, and I even saw six downed power poles."
In Taipei, large steel sheets and a half-constructed stadium was blown off and city authorities shut down much public transport. "The metal roof of the house next door to mine was completely blown away," said resident Jack Lin.
Among the dead was one person who drowned in his flooded home and another who was killed by a falling tree. Earlier, authorities said one adult and one child had drowned at sea, while a foreign worker was killed by a falling sign and a rescue worker was hit by a car and killed while clearing downed branches from a road.