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Typhoon Soudelor lashes southeast China after leaving 6 dead and 4 missing in Taiwan

A young boy searches through the storm-damaged remains of his home and finds a mother cat nursing two kittens on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. President Barack Obama has declared the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands a disaster area and is ordering federal aid to help the U.S. territory in the aftermath of a destructive typhoon.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Lin
August 09, 2015 - 6:00 AM

BEIJING, China - A typhoon was pounding southeast China late Saturday, leaving more than a million homes without power after lashing Taiwan, where it downed trees, traffic lights and power lines, and left six people dead and four missing.

Typhoon Soudelor hit the city of Putian in Fujian province late Saturday night and was expected to move across the region, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The storm earlier caused more than 3 million households in Taiwan to lose electricity, with streets strewn with fallen trees. All 279 domestic flights on the island were cancelled Saturday, as well as at least 37 international flights. At least 101 people were injured in the storm.

An 8-year-old girl and her mother died when they were swept out to sea Thursday from a beach on the east coast, Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported. The girl's twin sister remains missing.

Other casualties included a firefighter who was killed and another injured after being hit by a drunken driver as they attempted to move a fallen tree in the island's south.

The centre of the storm made landfall in eastern Taiwan before daybreak Saturday. By mid-morning, Soudelor was packing maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometres (100 miles) per hour, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.

The typhoon weakened later Saturday with top winds of up to 144 kph (89 mph) while moving away from the island in a northwesterly direction.

Strong winds and heavy rains were expected to continue in Taiwan.

Authorities in southeast China evacuated about 163,000 people and ordered around 32,000 ships back to port ahead of the typhoon, Xinhua reported. More than 7,000 soldiers and police were on standby, provincial authorities said.

The provincial capital of Fuzhou was being battered by heavy rain and strong winds, and all flights to the city were cancelled, Xinhua said. The neighbouring province of Jiangxi also issued a typhoon alert.

Heavy rains were forecast through Sunday morning in the northern part of Fujian.

Even before the storm made landfall, strong winds caused power outages to more than 1.41 million household in the province, Xinhua said.

On Friday afternoon, marine police rescued 55 university students and teachers trapped on a small island where they had been attending a summer camp, after strong gales stopped ferry services, Xinhua said.

The U.S. government was sending more aid to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which was battered by Soudelor last Sunday. The powerful typhoon snapped utility poles and toppled trees, leaving residents without electricity and running water.

The Pacific Daily News reported that food, water, dry milk, power generators and temporary shelter are expected to arrive on the main island of Saipan this weekend.

The goods left Guam aboard the USS Ashland on Friday. Hundreds of Marines are also on the amphibious dock landing ship, which was returning to Japan from a three-week military exercise off Australia but rerouted to Saipan.

President Barack Obama has declared the Northern Marianas a disaster area and ordered federal aid to help the U.S. territory

News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

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