Hundreds of people have been evacuated from southern Taiwan as a super-typhoon barrels down on the island and China is prepararing for the strongest storm of the year.
Super Typhoon Maranti struck Taiwan on Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction. Power has been lost in parts of the island, flights cancelled and schools and businesses were closed.
"This typhoon is the world's strongest so far this year," Taiwan's weather bureau spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-yun said.
Meteorologists said that Meranti was carrying maximum winds of 216 kilometers per hour when it hit Taiwan, which will feel the full force of the typhoon through Wednesday and into Thursday before it barrels into China.
Fallen power cables and trees were among some of the early damage reported. State-owned Taiwan Power Company said nearly 200,000 households were without electricity.
Companies and schools in Kaohsiung and other cities have closed and almost 1,500 residents have been evacuated, the Central Emergency Operation Center said.
Most domestic flights have been cancelled, including all of those from Kaohsiung airport, where international flights were also severely affected.
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China has issued a red alert and is expecting the storm to make landfall on Thursday.
Meranti is expected to hit the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Fujian on Thursday. Train services have been cancelled and trawlers have been ordered to return to the harbour, China's state media reported.
Two months ago the deadly Typhoon Nepartak hit central and and southern areas in Taiwan, cutting power and forcing thousands to flee their homes.
In 2009, Typhoon Morakot cut a swath of destruction through southern Taiwan, killing about 700 people and causing up to $3 billion of damage.
Typhoons are generated at this time of year, picking up strength as they cross the warm waters of the Pacific before bringing strong winds and violent rainstorms when they hit land.