China has issued a red alert and hundreds of people in southern Taiwan have been evacuated as the region braces for Super Typhoon Meranti, the strongest typhoon this year.
Meranti has hit Taiwan and is bringing torrential rain and wind speed of up to 370 kph, which is faster than a Formula One race car. Offices and schools in the region have been shut, while many flights have been cancelled, the official China News Agency reported.
"This typhoon is the world's strongest so far this year. Its impact on Taiwan will peak all day today," weather bureau spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-yun said. According to authorities in Taiwan, two people have been injured in the early impact of the typhoon and more than 260,000 houses have lost electricity in various regions in southern Taiwan.
Considering the enormity of the typhoon, over 370 domestic and international flights have been cancelled and train services in the region have also been temporarily suspended.
Taiwan Central Emergency Operating Center's Li Wei-sen said that around 1,500 people were evacuated in the region until Wednesday morning, CNN reported.
Li Wei-sen also said that around 4,000 military and police personnel have also been deployed in the affected region to prepare for any possible evacuation in the coming hours. However, he added that the authorities are not expecting any more damage.
Taiwan will feel the full force of the typhoon on Wednesday and Thursday before the storm heads into China, according to meteorologists. The storm is expected to hit China's Guangdong or Fujian provinces heavily on Thursday.
Emergency responses have been initiated by the authorities in six south-eastern provinces including Shanghai. The storm, which will make landfall in China soon, is expected to be the strongest to have hit the region in the past 47 years, according to news agency Xinhua.