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Typhoon Forces Evacuations in Taiwan; Two People Are Missing

September 07, 2002|From Times Wire Services

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A typhoon pounded Taiwan with strong winds and heavy rain today, forcing more than 1,000 people to evacuate and leaving at least two people missing. But there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Taiwan has been on alert for Typhoon Sinlaku since Friday, with financial markets, businesses and schools closed and domestic flights canceled.

The storm was heading toward China's southeastern coast with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and gusts of up to 112 mph.

The Central Weather Bureau said Sinlaku could dump as many as 27 inches of rain on the island, with mudslides and floods possible. Some mountainous areas already had 16 inches.

Two people were missing in the storm, including a woman who was swept away by high seas in eastern Hualien, the government's disaster relief center said. There were no details on the second person.

Seven hikers had lost contact with the authorities, but they were not believed to be in danger, officials said. More than 1,000 people were forced to evacuate because of the danger of floods and mudslides.

Sinlaku, named after the Micronesian goddess of breadfruit, battered Japan's Okinawa island Thursday, leaving five Philippine sailors missing and injuring at least 29 people.

The storm comes less than a week after Typhoon Rusa hit Japan and the Korean peninsula, killing at least 138 in South Korea.

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