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1 dead, 6 injured as Typhoon Saola lashes Taiwan

2012/08/02 13:32:44

Taipei, Aug. 2 (CNA) A police precinct head had been killed and six other people injured as of Thursday morning, as Typhoon Saola pounded Taiwan with gusty winds and torrential rain, the Central Emergency Operation Center said that day.

Wang Ming-hsiang, head of the Chuntou police precinct in New Taipei's Sanxia District, fell into a roaring mountain stream during a patrol mission at around 5 a.m., the center said.

He died roughly two hours after being rescued from the river and rushed to a hospital for emergency treatment, according to police authorities.

Media reports said six people had died during the storm, but according to checks by local government officials, none of those deaths were typhoon-related, the center said.

While some county and city governments in southern Taiwan reported scores of injuries in their districts, the center said those cases were still pending further examination to determine whether they were related to the typhoon.

The six injuries confirmed to be caused by Saola occurred in Taipei, New Taipei, Taichung and Tainan, respectively, the center said.

As of that day, 3,811 people in 11 cities and counties had been evacuated out of safety concerns, according to the center. In eastern Taiwan's Hualien area alone, 207 people, including staff at several tourist service centers, as well as travelers, had been evacuated.

As of 9 a.m., code-red landslide warnings had been issued for 317 rivers and streams in Yilan, Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Chiayi and Hualien, the center said.

Meanwhile, less serious code-yellow warnings were also issued for 387 rivers in 11 cities and counties around Taiwan.

The center urged people to keep themselves abreast of news updates about road closures in several landslide-prone mountainous areas of northern, central and southern Taiwan.

Typhoon Saola, which has brought extreme rainfall across Taiwan overnight, made landfall in eastern Taiwan early Thursday but returned back out to sea a short time later, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

As of 9 a.m., the typhoon was centered 40 km northeast of Hualien County in eastern Taiwan, moving at a speed of 12 kph in a northerly direction.

Bureau data shows that Saola has been circling during the past few hours, making landfall in Hualien at 3:20 a.m. but leaving again at 6 a.m.

Saola is likely to maintain its original path and either skirt the island or make landfall again in northeastern Taiwan, according to the forecasters.

(By Liu Chien-pang and Sofia Wu)
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