Early Saturday morning, the eye of Typhoon Soudelor hit Taiwan, but the country has been rampaged by the typhoon since earlier in the week. As of this writing, at least 185 people have been injured, and six killed in the wake of Soudelor’s destruction.
Among the dead are a mother and her 8-year-old daughter who were swept out to sea on Thursday when Typhoon Soudelor hit a beach on the east coast of the island. The girl’s twin sister is reported as missing. A firefighter was killed, and another injured when they were run over by a drunk driver while trying to remove a fallen tree — caused by the typhoon — from the middle of a road. One man died when storms from Soudelor flooded his home and he drowned, while another was killed after being struck by a falling sign.
The destruction caused by Typhoon Soudelor is widesweeping and devastating. Winds of up to 100 miles per hour were reported, and fierce rains caused mudslides in the northern region of Taoyuan, burying houses and snapping wind turbines, a spokesman for Taoyuan fire agency reported.
“Flash mudslides surged into the village. About 10 of the homes were half buried but people were evacuated last night and are in safe shelters.”
Although the eye of Typhoon Soudelor has already passed Taiwan and is headed for mainland China, heavy rain and strong winds are expected to continue to batter the island until at least Sunday evening.
A sewage station engineer, named only as Jiang, was inspecting pumping stations early Saturday morning in Taiwan as Soudelor raged around him.
“This is one of the worst typhoons I have ever seen. My car was shaking when I was driving. There are too many trees down, and I even saw six downed power poles.”
Taipei resident Jack Lin confirmed Jiang’s statement, adding that metal sheeting and rods from a half-constructed stadium were strewn about, and that authorities in Taiwan’s capital had shut down public transportation for the time being.
“The metal roof of the house next door to mine was completely blown away. I saw a car crushed to bits.”
Typhoon Soudelor is expected to make landfall in China around 10:10 p.m. local time Saturday evening, and authorities there have already evacuated 163,000 people in the southeastern part of the country, as well as called 32,000 ships back to port in anticipation of the typhoon. Soudelor is being called the strongest storm on the planet so far this year, and while Typhoon Soudelor is expected to weaken as it continues its path, no one is out of the woods yet.
[Image Credits: Header — NASA/Kimiya Yui, Body — New Taipei Fire Department/Associated Press]