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Disasters

After battering Taiwan, Typhoon Soulik hits mainland China

China has moved 300,000 people to safety as Typhoon Soulik makes landfall. The storm has slowed since ripping off roofs in Taiwan, killing a police officer and injuring 21 people when it struck the island overnight.

Typhoon Soulik hit China's southeastern Fujian province at about 4 p.m. (0800 GMT) with winds of nearly 120 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour), the National Meteorological Center reported on its website. The government dispatched about 5,500 soldiers across the southeastern coast to help with rescue efforts, reported Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

China has recommended that fishing boats remain grounded on the southeastern coast and suspended operations in the ports of Fuzhou, Xiamen and Meizhou Bay, Xinhua reported. Additionally, authorities suspended 31 high-speed trains in coastal areas of the province as well as public transit in Ningde City and canceled 142 flights at Fuzhou's Changle International Airport since Friday night.

Taiwan hit hard

The typhoon also disrupted transportation and commerce across Taiwan, where it hit 163 kilometers per hour, with emergency crews around the capital, Taipei, struggling to restore power to 520,000 homes and remove hundreds of trees uprooted by the storm from streets and roads. Torrential rains buffeted the island's north and center, with Hsinchu and the neighboring county of Miaoli reporting totals of 700-800 millimeters (30 inches) by early Saturday.

On Friday, the government closed schools and businesses across the island's north and the military moved about 8,000 people. The island's airports and high-speed rail service were expected to resume operations later on Saturday.

Torrential rains and landslides have battered China's southwest as well in recent days. Landslides and floods in Sichuan province had killed 31 people by Thursday, according to the Civil Affairs Ministry, with 166 more missing. The harsh weather has affected more than two million people overall in the region, the ministry reported.

mkg/pfd (AFP, dpa, AP)