Thousands were evacuated as Typhoon Haigui entered Taiwan

TAIPEI, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Domestic flights were canceled and nearly 4,000 evacuated as Typhoon Haigui brought heavy rain and strong winds to southeastern Taiwan on Sunday.

Haikui made landfall in a mountainous and sparsely populated area southeast of Taiwan on Sunday afternoon, the first typhoon to directly hit Taiwan in four years. Counties and cities across the region canceled classes and declared holidays for workers.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told a meeting of disaster management officials that people should avoid going outdoors and avoid the mountains, beaches, fishing or water sports, according to a statement from her office.

Two people were slightly injured when a tree fell on a truck in the eastern province of Hualien, the fire department said. There have been other reports of damage. Only in the capital city of Taipei did it rain here and there.

Haikui is a much weaker storm than Typhoon Chaola, which battered Hong Kong and the southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Saturday.

Taiwan’s government said 3,729 people had been evacuated, mainly in the south and east.

Taiwanese airlines canceled all domestic flights on Sunday, while ferry services to surrounding islands were suspended.

International flights were least disrupted, with only 41 canceled on Sunday, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said.

Troops and equipment have been mobilized to assist in flood relief and evacuation efforts.

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After crossing southern Taiwan, Haikui is forecast to enter the Taiwan Strait and head towards China.

Ben Blanchard reports; Additional reporting by Angie Deo; Editing by Jonathan Otis and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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