Thousands without power after Typhoon Haikui batters Taiwan

September 4, 2023 - 10:45 AM
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People walk with umbrellas as Typhoon Haikui approaches, in Taipei, Taiwan September 3, 2023. (Reuters/Ann Wang)

TAIPEI — Taiwan worked to restore power to more than 30,000 households after Typhoon Haikui (named Hanna in the Philippines) barrelled into the east and south of the island, as cities and counties in the affected areas closed schools and businesses and domestic airlines canceled flights.

Haikui made landfall in the mountainous and sparsely populated far southeast of Taiwan on Sunday afternoon, the first typhoon to directly hit Taiwan in four years. It then moved across the southern part of the island.

State-run utility Taipower said Haikui knocked out power for more than 240,000 households but that fewer than 34,000 were still waiting for electricity to be restored as of Monday, around half of those in the eastern county of Taitung.

Counties and cities across southern, eastern and central Taiwan canceled classes and declared a day off for workers on Monday. In capital city Taipei there were sporadic gusty rain showers.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) 2330.TW, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said its plants in Taiwan were operating normally and had not been affected by the storm.

Taiwan’s fire department reported five injuries as a result of the typhoon but no deaths. Taiwan’s government said more than 7,000 people had been evacuated, mainly in the south and east.

Taiwan airlines canceled 189 domestic flights on Monday, with only a handful scheduled to fly, while ferry services to surrounding islands were also suspended. There was less disruption to international flights, with only 23 canceled, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said.

Haikui is much weaker than Typhoon Saola, which hit Hong Kong and the southern Chinese province of Guangdong on Saturday.

As of Monday morning, Haikui had started to enter the Taiwan Strait and head towards China, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said. It will continue to bring heavy rain across Taiwan into the middle of the week.

China’s national weather and ocean forecasters issued alerts early on Monday for Haikui, warning of strong winds and large waves around coastal provinces Fujian and Guangdong and told ships to take precaution, Chinese state media reported.

– Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Liz Lee in Beijing; Editing by Tom Hogue