BEJING: In wake of a powerful typhoon heading towards the eastern coast of the country, Chinese authorities have declared a red alert.
Typhoon Lekima is currently battering Taiwan with winds of more than 190km/h (120mph) and is due to make landfall in China’s Zhejiang province on Saturday.
Chinese authorities have deployed emergency teams in the region to guide relief work.
China’s emergency ministry has asked thousands of people further up the coast in Shanghai to prepare to evacuate.
Lekima, which is the ninth typhoon so far this year, strengthened into a super typhoon late on Wednesday, but Taiwanese authorities have since downgraded it to a regular typhoon.
Flood warnings have been issued for eastern sections of China’s Yangtze River and the Yellow River until Wednesday. The provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong are also on alert.
Cruise liners have been told to delay their arrival in Shanghai and some train services have been suspended over the weekend. Beijing has also cancelled some trains heading to and from the Yangtze delta region.
Lekima is one of two typhoons in the western Pacific at the moment. Further east, Typhoon Krosa is spreading heavy rain across the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. It is moving north-west and could strike Japan some time next week, forecasters said.
Lekima was passing the north of Taiwan on Friday, causing flight cancellations and the closures of schools and offices.
Power was cut to more than 40,000 homes and the island’s high-speed rail service was suspended north of the city of Taichung, local media reported.
The huge storm came a day after eastern Taiwan was rattled by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. Experts said the risks of landslides triggered by the tremor were made more likely by the typhoon dumping up to 900mm (35 inches) of rain on Taiwan’s northern mountains.
Lekima also brought heavy rain and high winds to south-west Japan on Friday, cutting power to about 14,000 homes, broadcaster NHK reported.