Taiwan islands evacuated as typhoon nears

  • 28/09/2015
Typhoon Dujuan approaches Taiwan's east coast from the Pacific Ocean (AAP)
Typhoon Dujuan approaches Taiwan's east coast from the Pacific Ocean (AAP)

Evacuations have been stepped up in Taiwan as "super typhoon" Dujuan swirled towards the island, gathering strength on its approach to the east coast.

Torrential rains and high winds are forecast across Taiwan from Monday afternoon (local time), with landfall predicted around 11pm.

Crashing waves were already battering the northeastern coast by midday and fishing boats have been called back to shore.

Taiwan's weather bureau upgraded Dujuan to a "strong typhoon" Sunday – its top category.

Other regional weather bureaus, including the Hong Kong Observatory, categorised it as a "super typhoon" as it intensified to reach gusts of 227km/h.

"The whole of the island should heighten vigilance against severe winds and torrential rains," a spokesman for Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.

Almost 3000 people, most of them tourists, were evacuated Sunday from Taiwan's Green Island and Orchid Island – popular with visitors.

About 4000 more were moved on Monday ahead of the storm.

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu said they were from vulnerable areas, including the hot spring town of Wulai, just outside Taipei.

"In areas that could become isolated during the typhoon, sufficient rescue and communications equipment will be deployed in advance. We hope residents can cooperate with us," said Chu.

Wulai was hit hard by Typhoon Soudelor in August with some residents unable to return home for weeks.

Aboriginal mountain communities are particularly at risk during typhoons, often hit by flooding and mudslides.

Some are still cleaning up after Soudelor left a trail of destruction.

More than 24,000 troops are on stand-by for disaster relief and evacuations, with 100 shelters set up. Emergency response centres have been established in the north and east.

The storm threatens long-weekend plans for many as Taiwan celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival.

A concert by US rock band Bon Jovi due to take place in Taipei Monday was cancelled, while 169 international and 59 domestic flights were also pulled.

High-speed rail was due to be suspended mid-afternoon.

Ferry services and flights to outlying islands have already been suspended.