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Super Typhoon Nepartak Causes Devastation Across Taiwan's Coastline


Super typhoon Nepartak slammed into the east coast of Taiwan on Friday morning, overturning cars, forcing thousands from their homes and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Taiwan's first major tropical storm of the season made landfall at about 5.50am in the eastern county of Taitung with winds of 234km/h (145mph) reportedly lashing the region. Taiwan's central weather bureau said it expected the storm to linger over the country for up to eight hours and warned citizens to prepare for heavy downpours.

At least one person was reported to have drowned on Thursday as rains hit the area before the typhoon's arrival. Li Wei-sen, the spokesperson for Taiwan's central emergency operations centre, told Associated Press 66 people had been injured by Friday morning while 270,000 homes had no electricity. “The wind is very strong," one Taitung resident, who gave her name only as Cheng, told Reuters. “Many hut roofs and signs on the street have been blown off."

The storm system spans 200km (125 miles) and is moving north-west at a speed of 17km/h, towards mainland China, where it is expected to make landfall on Saturday morning. The storm is expected to dump torrential rain across Taiwan, with mountainous areas forecast to receive up to 500mm (20in), potentially triggering landslides that have in the past claimed hundreds of lives.

More than 35,000 soldiers have been put on standby to help with evacuations and disaster relief, while 90 shelters have been set up. On Thursday, most domestic flights were grounded and international flights were affected, Taipei's two main airports said. Offices and schools were closed. The popular tourist spots of Green Island and Orchid Island, which have evacuated thousands of visitors in the past few days, announced the closure of all schools and offices on Thursday.

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