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Typhoon Aere Pounds Taiwan, Heads for China

The world's tallest building, Taipei 101, was undamaged, a spokesman for the company that owns the 1,676 feet tower said. The 101-storey building is designed to withstand powerful earthquakes and once-in-century storms.

Aere, with gusts of up to 108 mph, was moving west at 9 mph toward China. Taiwan's premier Yu Shyi-kun was forced to make an unscheduled six-hour stop in Okinawa after his plane was diverted early on Wednesday.

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"As the storm continues moving westward, the wind and rain in northern Taiwan are expected to ease significantly by the afternoon," said Fred Tsai, a forecaster at the weather bureau.

The typhoon has already dumped 59 inches of rain on some mountainous regions in Taiwan that were still reeling from Typhoon Mindulle in July. That storm killed at least 22 people.

"We are still trying to rebuild our home after the last typhoon and now we have to flee again," a woman surnamed Lee told television at a public shelter in the hilly county of Nantao.

Some 240,000 households around the island were left without electricity, while nearly 1 million homes have no tap water.

Businesses in 12 Taiwan cities and counties, including the capital, were closed. Taipei's international airport was open but some flights were grounded.

Traffic at Taiwan's second-largest port, Keelung, has ground to a halt since Tuesday.

"The wind and rain is still heavy, but it is gradually easing. No vessels have entered or left the harbour since yesterday, said a Keelung harbour official.

In 2001, one of Taiwan's deadliest years for storms, Typhoon Toraji killed 200 people. A few months later, Typhoon Nari caused Taipei's worst flooding on record and killed 100 people. (Additional reporting by Richard Chung and Richard Dobson)


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