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Hundreds evacuated as Typhoon Soulik nears Taiwan

TAIPEI: Hundreds of villagers were evacuated and schools and businesses shut down in Taiwan yesterday as it prepared for the arrival of Typhoon Soulik, expected to pound the island with powerful winds and heavy rain over the weekend.
Offices and schools closed in Taipei and eight other cities with residents advised to stay indoors as the typhoon churns towards the island. Packing winds of up to 209 km an hour, Soulik is expected to make landfall on the north-east coast around 3 a.m. Saturday, the Central Weather Bureau said.
The bureau downgraded Soulik from a super typhoon to a moderate typhoon but warned residents across the island to prepare for “extreme torrential rain” —classified as 350mm (13 inches) within 24 hours — and rough seas.
More than 600 residents were evacuated from six low-lying aboriginal riverside villages outside the capital city yesterday morning.
“I saw TV reporting that the typhoon may bring in up to one metre of rainfall. That would be terrible and reminded me of the painful memories last year,” Ginghong Izan, a male migrant from the Amei aboriginal tribe told AFP, speaking outside his home in Hsichou village.
“My TV, computer, refrigerator and furniture were all were flooded when (Typhoon) Saola hit in August. It cost me around Tw$ 200,000 ($ 6,670),” the 52-year-old said, adding that he started moving valuables to higher parts of his house two days ago. Saola left six dead, two missing and 16 wounded in Taiwan after taking 23 lives in the Philippines.