TAIPEI: Domestic flights were canceled and nearly 3,000 people evacuated as Taiwan braced for Typhoon Haikui on Sunday, which is expected to bring downpours and strong winds to the south and east of the island.
Haikui was expected to make landfall in the mountainous and sparsely populated far southeast of Taiwan late Sunday afternoon. Counties and cities in the east and south canceled classes and declared a public holiday for workers.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told a meeting of disaster management officials that this would be the first typhoon to make landfall on the island and cross its central mountain range in four years.
People should avoid going outside and not go to the mountains, the coast, fishing or water sports, Tsai’s office said in a statement.
Haikui is a much weaker storm than Typhoon Saola, which hit Hong Kong and southern China’s Guangdong province on Saturday. Haikui is only expected to be a Category 1 or 2 typhoon when it hits Taiwan, according to Tropical Storm Risk.
The Taiwanese government announced that they had already evacuated 2,868 people, mainly in the south and east. Taiwan’s two main domestic airlines, UNI Air and Mandarin Airlines, canceled all flights on Sunday and ferry services to surrounding islands were also cancelled.
There were fewer disruptions to international flights, with only 37 canceled for Sunday, the Civil Aviation Authority said.
The military has mobilized troops and equipment to assist with flood relief and evacuation. After flying over southern Taiwan, Haikui is expected to cross the Taiwan Strait to China.
“Alcohol scholar. Hardcore tv junkie. Wannabe bacon enthusiast. Twitter fanatic. Subtly charming travel guru. Pop culture specialist.”