Typhoon to bring heavy rain to China, Taiwan rushes aid to remote island

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) -Heavy rain and strong wind will hit south China over the next three days as Typhoon Koinu reaches the coast after killing one and injuring hundreds in Taiwan, where authorities were on Friday flying help to a badly hit island.

Typhoon Koinu, which means “puppy” in Japanese, will bring severe weather to the coasts of Guangdong province and neighbouring, China’s National Meteorological Centre (NMC) said, as it as it issued a yellow alert, the third highest in a four-coloured warning system.

Rainfall in Guangdong could reach more than 300 millimetres, the centre said.

Koinu killed one person and injured almost 400 people in Taiwan, causing some of the most extensive damage on remote Orchid Island off the east coast and home to about 5,000 people, although no one was injured on the island.

More than 70 boats were overturned or sunk in a harbour on the island, two schools were seriously damaged and power was cut.

Government and air force helicopters flew in engineers to restore electricity and telecommunications, though the first boats with supplies are not due to arrive on Orchid Island until early Saturday. Civilian flights remain suspended.

“The situation is very bad, roads broken, cannot pump fuel and cannot buy anything from the convenience store, no food stocks and water. So everyone is collecting rain water for cooking,” Orchid Island restaurant owner Judy Chiu told Reuters.

Guangdong province has suspended dozens of ferry routes since late Thursday and the NMC warned tourists to stay away from beach resorts on the last day of a week-long holiday on Friday.

Guangdong has also suspended 83 high-speed trains and closed 29 tourist sites, according to media and the government.

Fujian province also suspended dozens of ferries including services known as the “small three links” to Taiwan’s Kinmen and Matsu islands, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Koinu was travelling around 144 kph (89 mph) off the coast of the city of Shanwei as of 8 a.m. on Friday, said the NMC, slowing down from the 252 kph (156 mph) on Thursday in Taiwan.

It is expected to weaken into a strong tropical storm from late Friday and grow weaker as it heads west along China’s southern coast, it said.

(Reporting by Albee Zhang in Beijing and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Additional reporting by Angie Teo in Taipei; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)