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Floods and power-outages as Taiwan battered by Typhoon Nesat

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A motorcyclist attempts to ride through floodwaters, as Typhoon Nesat hits Pingtung county in southern Taiwan on July 29, 2017. Taiwan came to a standstill on July 29 with power knocked out for part of the island as it braced for its first typhoon of the year. STR / AFP

Taiwan suffered flooding, widespread power outages and winds of over a hundred miles and hour as it was battered by its first typhoon of the year on Saturday.

Much of the island came to a standstill, with most train services suspended and as many as 249,230 households without electricity as Typhoon Nesat — packing gust of up to 180 kilometres (111.8 miles) an hour — blasted across the country.

The storm made landfall at 1110 GMT in the eastern Yilan county, whipping up massive waves of over 15 metres (49.2 feet).

Taiwan’s weather bureau warned of torrential rain in the eastern and southern counties, with the tropical storm expected to dump as much as 900 millimetres (35.4 inches) of water in some areas.

More than 10,000 people had to be evacuated, with 4,564 soldiers deployed for disaster relief.

The southernmost county of Pingtung suffered the worst flooding as of Saturday night, with dozens of residents stranded.

Images showed motorcyclists in the area pushing their vehicles knee-deep in water and others with their homes flooded.

Air travel was also disrupted, a total of 312 domestic and international flights cancelled.

Another impending storm — Typhoon Haitang — is also set to threaten Taiwan according to the weather bureau.

Haitang was 420 kilometres (261 miles) southwest of Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of the island, and barreling towards Taiwan.

Although Nesat is Taiwan’s first typhoon this year, the island was pounded by heavy rains last month.

At least one person died in June floods in the north of the country, after 600 millimetres of rain fell in under 11 hours in some areas.

Taiwan’s government has stepped up preventive measures against tropical storms since typhoon Morakot left more than 400 people dead in its wake in 2009.

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