TAIPEI (AFP) – Tropical storm Fung-Wong on Sunday pounded Taiwan with torrential downpours and powerful winds, killing one person and forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights and ferry services.
A 50-year-old drowned near his home in Peinan, a township in southeastern Taitung county, the Central Emergency Operation Centre said, while another man in the county was injured by falling rocks.
The defence ministry has ordered 48,000 soldiers to be on stand-by while fishing boats were advised to seek shelter at ports.
Fung-Wong scraped the southern tip of the island around 10.00am (0200 GMT) after it veered east away from its forecast route, the Central Weather Bureau said.
The storm brought torrential rains and strong winds which whipped high waves off the south coast, forcing thousands of tourists and surfers to leave the popular Kenting area.
Packing winds of 90 kilometres per hour, Fung-Wong had dumped up to 60 centimetres of rain as it tracked north-northeast, the bureau said.
“As heavy rains could trigger landslides, people should stay away from the mountainous areas,” a weather forecaster from the bureau said as the authorities evacuated more than 1,200 residents from areas prone to mudslides.
A total of 57 domestic and seven international flights were cancelled and ferry services to the offshore islands and mainland China were also suspended, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.
Kaohsiung was on alert as authorities deployed water pumps to the main southern city, which is still recovering from a huge blast which killed 30 people and damaged a large part of its drainage system in July.