Flights canceled as Taiwan battens down for powerful typhoon

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Schools and offices were closed in parts of the country on Wednesday.

Typhoon Maria made landfall in south-east China's Fujian province Wednesday morning, bringing high waves and heavy rain to several coastal Chinese cities after leaving a trail of destruction in Taiwan.

According to ChannelNewsAsia.com, some 3,500 people across the island were evacuated from areas prone to floods and landslides, with about 2,000 soldiers mobilized to help.

In Fuzhou, the provincial capital of Fujian, schools and factories in coastal areas were asked to close Wednesday.

Eighty-six teams made up of around 1,500 workers from Fujian Expressway Group are on standby to fix damage caused by the typhoon, and firefighters are prepared for rescue missions. Most outdoor work was suspended.

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"Among them, 1,330 were dispatched to facilitate relief in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, while another 831 were sent to Sichuan Province, " the armed police force announced on Thursday.

As Typhoon Maria continues to move inland it has steadily weakened and has now become a tropical storm.

In neighboring Zhejiang Province, more than 144,400 people in five cities had been evacuated as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, and about 20,800 fishing boats and 4,950 other boats had returned to port or safe waters. Authorities have told people to avoid the coast. The island's disaster response center said the two were hit by falling tree limbs in Taipei on Tuesday, as the medium-strength storm passed north of the mountainous island of 23 million people. Seventy-six domestic flights and 145 worldwide flights were cancelled on Tuesday.

Hong Kong's flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, said more than a dozen flights had been canceled.

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