Updated: 07/23/2014 10:49 | By Agence France-Presse

Typhoon Matmo batters Taiwan, five hurt

Typhoon Matmo pounded Taiwan with fierce winds and downpours Wednesday, leaving five people injured, shuttering financial markets, and interrupting rail and air transportation.


Typhoon Matmo batters Taiwan, five hurt

An advertisement is blown in the air as Typhoon Matmo approaches Xindien district in New Taipei City on July 23, 2014 - by Sam Yeh

Matmo, packing gusts of up to 173 kilometres (107 miles) per hour, slammed into the east overnight, becoming the first tropical storm to make landfall on the island this year, the Central Weather Bureau said.

The storm's powerful winds tore off roofs and uprooted trees, including one in Taipei that crashed into a taxi, injuring its driver and a passenger.

Three other people were also injured in the capital.

Typhoon Matmo had slightly weakened before it crossed the island to enter the Taiwan Strait and head for China's southeastern Fujian province Wednesday morning.

It was located around 70 kilometres (43 miles) west-northwest of the central Taichung city at 0000 GMT, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

Financial markets, offices and schools were shut down due to the typhoon, which also led to the cancellation of 171 international and 24 domestic flights, and the interruption of all rail services to and from the east.

More than 500 residents living in the mountainous areas prone to landslides were evacuated.

Around 5,400 tourists were evacuated from Green Island and Orchid Island, two popular scenic spots off the southeastern Taitung county, Tuesday.

The local government said shipping services between the two islets and Taitung had been suspended from Tuesday for three days.

Last year, Taiwan was battered by Typhoon Soulik, whose torrential rains and powerful winds left two people dead and at least 100 injured.

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