Taiwan drenched as Tropical Storm Nanmadol sweeps in

A man shows his grandson a water pump (R) extracting overflowing water caused by rain brought by Typhoon Nanmadol in Linbian in Taiwan"s southern Pingtung county on August 29, 2011.
Image caption Heavy downpours caused extensive damage in southern parts of the island

Torrential rains and fierce winds have hit south-east Taiwan causing extensive disruption, as Tropical Storm Nanmadol swept over the island.

Thousands of people were evacuated and there were reports of flooding and power cuts across the region.

Taiwan had deployed 35,000 troops to prepare for the storm's onslaught, but there were no reports of serious damage as the storm's intensity diminished.

It had already wrought havoc in the Philippines, leaving at least 12 dead.

Tropical Storm Nanmadol - downgraded from a typhoon - brought winds of 135 km/h (84mph), but it largely skirted the island. Taipei escaped the brunt of the storm.

Nevertheless schools and government offices remained closed in many areas across the island. Many domestic flights were also cancelled.

About 30,000 households in southern and eastern Taiwan lost power, the AP news agency reports, while heavy rains closed many roads and bridges.

The region most severely affected by the storm was southern Pingtung county, where civilian defence teams had to rescue people from areas inundated by flash floods.

The storm is now headed for the south-eastern coast of China.

When the typhoon hit the Philippines last week, powerful winds and rain triggered floods and landslides, blocking major roads and destroying several bridges.

Among the victims there were two children killed when a rubbish tip wall collapsed in the northern mountain city of Baguio.

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