Typhoon Koinu: At least one dead and 304 injured as intense rainstorms hit Taiwan

Authorities close schools and offices with more than 62,000 homes and businesses without power

Typhoon Koinu swept southern Taiwan on Thursday, leaving at least one dead and more than 300 injured as it brought intense winds and rainstorms to the island.

Taiwan’s fire department said one person was killed by flying glass in the central city of Taichung and at least 304 were injured around the island. Gusts of wind downed trees and caused damage to some buildings.

Typhoon Koinu brought wind gusts of up to 95.2 metres per second, or 342.7km/h, when it crossed Taiwan’s outer Lanyu (Orchid) island on Wednesday night.

The Central Weather Administration (CWA) said it was the highest wind gust recorded in Taiwan since the organisation was founded in 1986. The gust destroyed the island’s anemometer, the CWA said.


The gust appears to be the third-strongest recorded globally. In 1996 Western Australia’s Barrow Island recorded a 408km/h gust, which broke the record set in 1934 when a 372km/h gust was recorded in the US on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

Koinu, which means puppy in Japanese, made landfall in Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of Taiwan, early on Thursday and is expected to weaken as it continues to move west toward Guangdong and Fujian provinces in southern China.

Chiayi’s emergency operation centre said some of the injured included people who were riding their scooters and fell in the strong winds or were hit by falling branches. More than 62,000 homes and businesses were without power by midday Thursday.

Cities across the island cancelled work and classes, including the major southern port city of Kaohsiung. The capital, Taipei, was operating as normal and the rain had stopped as of Thursday morning.

Waves of up to seven metres were reported, and videos online show significant damage to houses and shopfronts along coastal areas.

Most domestic flights and dozens of international flights were cancelled on Thursday, according to the transportation ministry, while ferries to outlying islands were also suspended.

Taiwan sits in an active region for tropical cyclones, but Koinu is only the second typhoon to make landfall in four years. Typhoon Haikui hit the island in early September, injuring dozens. – Wires