UPDATE: Air and rail services had mostly reverted to normal as Taiwan begins
clean up, said an AFP report.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled, leaving passengers delayed at Taoyuan
International Airport as Typhoon Saola pounded Taiwan on Thursday with heavy
rains and strong winds.
The Straits Times (ST) said some 100 domestic and international flights were
cancelled, while UK publication The Telegraph reported that as many as 200
flights were affected.
The moderate-strength typhoon dumped as much as 1.5m of rainfall in areas
such as New Taipei city and Ilan county, which was among the worst hit.
At least six have been killed and 16 injured.
The entire island was shut down as authorities suspended trading on
financial markets due to the extreme weather yesterday.
Some 48,000 soldiers were deployed to rescue those trapped by breast-deep
water. About 9,000 people fled their homes throughout Taiwan, including 1,000
in Ilan, 1,900 in New Taipei City and 300 in Taipei, reported ST.
At Singapore's Changi Airport, three out of nine Taipei-bound flights were
grounded, and three were delayed. From Taipei, three were cancelled and three
were delayed, said ST.
Singapore Airlines delayed its twice-daily flights by a couple of hours.
Jetstar cancelled its service, which flies via Taipei to Osaka. Flights by Eva
Air, Tiger Airways and China Airlines were unaffected, according to the ST
For Philippines' Ninoy Aquino International Airport, at least four flights
to and from Taipei were cancelled, reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
[More details here.
Saolo reportedly weakened by Thursday morning and backed out to sea and is
now headed for China. The Chinese government issued a red alert yesterday
Flights between Xiamen and Jinmen, and Quanzhou and Jinmen, were cancelled
because of Saola.
China Daily also reported that the operation of the passenger liners Haixia,
which links Fujian province's Pingtan county and Taiwan's Taichung city, and
Cosco Star, which travels between Xiamen and Keelong, were also suspended for
safety concerns. [More details here.]
[Pictured here: A telescopic airline corridor lies collapsed near the runway
of an airport after being blown down in strong winds brought on by Typhoon
Saola at Taoyuan international airport on August 2, 2012.]
Passengers wait for the flights at the Taoyuan International Airport as typhoon
Saola approaches eastern Taiwan on August 1, 2012. Taiwan shut down schools and
cancelled flights as it braced for the approaching Typhoon Saola, which caused
eight deaths when it swept across the Philippines.
A man reacts as his umbrella snaps against strong winds as Typhoon Saola
approaches Taiwan in Taipei August 1, 2012. Taiwan issued torrential rain and
strong wind warnings for most of the island on Wednesday as slow-moving Typhoon
Saola approached, while in China, Premier Wen Jiabao told authorities to be on
the highest alert to prevent deaths.
A man walks with his umbrella against strong winds as Typhoon Saola approaches
Taiwan in Taipei August 1, 2012.
A woman walks with her umbrella against strong winds as Typhoon Saola
approaches Taiwan in Taipei August 1, 2012.
Two coast guards patrol the beach at Toucheng, Ilan county, as typhoon Saola
approaches eastern Taiwan on August 1, 2012. Taiwan on July 31 warned that
approaching Typhoon Saola was likely to bring heavy rains and trigger
landslides on the island after it killed eight people in the Philippines.
A couple walks along the beach in Nanfangao, eastern Ilan county, as typhoon
Saola approches the island's east coast on July 31, 2012. At least three people
were killed and millions were left without power as Tropical Storm Saola turned
into a typhoon, bringing heavy rains to large parts of the Philippines, the
Military soldiers help to evacuate the warnning area's residents in eastern
Hualien county on August 1, 2012. Taiwan shut down schools and cancelled
flights as it braced for the approaching Typhoon Saola, which caused eight
deaths when it swept across the Philippines.
A local resident wades through flood waters on a road in New Taipei City on
August 2, 2012. Typhoon Saola pounded Taiwan with fierce winds and torrential
rain that left six people dead and forced nearly the entire island to shut down
on August 2, rescuers said.
A pedestrian looks on at a collapsed bank on the side of a road in New Taipei
City on August 2, 2012. Typhoon Saola pounded Taiwan with fierce winds and
torrential rain that left six people dead and forced nearly the entire island
to shut down on August 2, rescuers said.