13 Jul 2013

Evacuations ordered as typhoon nears Taiwan

6:10 am on 13 July 2013

More than 8000 people have been evacuated in Taiwan and the entire island is declared an alert zone as Typhoon Soulik edges nearer.

Many of those moved from their homes are from southern areas prone to landslides.

The typhoon is expected to bring 209km per hour and 350mm of rain on Saturday.

Offices and schools are closed in Taipei and eight other cities. Residents are advised to stay indoors.

Waves as high as 1.5 metres hit the shore in Yilan on Friday afternoon and hundreds of fishing boats sought shelter.

President Ma Ying-jeou inspected the government's disaster response centre.

A coastal highway in Yilan where 20 Chinese tourists were killed by landslides caused by Typhoon Megi in 2010 was also closed.

More than 2000 tourists were earlier evacuated from Green Island, southeast of Taiwan, on Thursday.

The storm has disrupted air travel to and from Taiwan with 65 flights cancelled.