1254 GMT February 19, 2020
Typhoon Megi approached the island in the early hours of Tuesday with raging winds as fast as 162 kilometers per hour, making landfall in the less populated areas of eastern Taiwan at 1:30 p.m. local time.
According to the government’s Central Emergency Operation Center, the massive typhoon, wounded at least 32 people and forced over 5,300 others to evacuate their homes, 2,000 of whom are currently residing in shelters. More than 950,000 households also lost power.
The typhoon, which is equivalent to a category three hurricane in the Atlantic, also ripped signs off buildings and knocked down trees
The government closed schools and offices across the island and canceled 575 international and domestic flights as the storm closed in. Taiwan’s financial markets were also closed in advance.
According to experts, the typhoon is expected to move across Taiwan and push forward into the Taiwan Strait. It is expected to make its second fall in Fujian, eastern China, with less force on Wednesday.
Officials said that eastern Taiwan could witness a total of up to 900 millimeters (35 inches) of rain through Wednesday, increasing the risk of flash floods and landslides.
Over 35,000 army troops are on standby to assist the country’s disaster relief.
On September 14, super Typhoon Meranti claimed the lives of 28 people in Taiwan and China and caused a massive outage in the afftected areas. Soon after Meranti, the smaller Typhoon Malakas, swept through the island.
In 2009, Typhoon Morakot devastated southern Taiwan, killing about 700 people and causing more than three billion dollars in damage.