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Girl swept out to sea off Taiwan as typhoon approaches

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An eight-year-old girl died after being swept out to sea off Taiwan as Typhoon Soudelor bore down on the island.

The approaching storm forced thousands to flee and troops to be placed on standby, officials said on Friday (Aug 7).

Billed as the biggest typhoon of the year earlier in the week, Soudelor has since weakened but authorities warned it may strengthen once more before making landfall.

The young girl became the first casualty of the impending storm after she was swept out to sea in eastern Yilan county on Thursday (Aug 6), authorities said. 

Another child was also missing in the same incident, while a 38-year-old woman and another girl survived.

“The girl who died and the one who went missing were swept away by strong waves,” a spokesman for the National Fire Agency told AFP.

Packing maximum wind speeds of 173kmh near its centre, Soudelor was 440km southeast of eastern Hualien county on Friday (Aug 7) morning.

The defence ministry said it had readied 100 shelters that can accommodate more than 45,000 people while around 32,000 soldiers were placed on standby for disaster relief.

Source: AFP