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Supertyphoon Bilis Arrives in Taiwan; Death Toll Stand at 2

Aired August 22, 2000 - 2:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Now, we want to go and switch oceans, switch continents actually. We are going to check in with Jason Blatt. He is in Taipei, on the island of Taiwan, updating us on the situation with Supertyphoon Bilis -- Jason.

Thanks, Martin.

JASON BLATT, TVBS REPORTER: The latest that -- figures that we have released by the National Fire Administration put the death toll at two dead as a result of this typhoon. Although the typhoon has just now started to arrive over the main part of the island. In addition, there are 20 people said to be missing, most of whom were outdoors at the time when the typhoon hit, and there are seven injuries. The injuries range from a person who fell off his motor bike in the strong winds, to three that were hit by falling tree branches, one that was hit by a flying street sign, and one woman who jammed her finger in a door when she was simply trying to shut the door in the strong storm.

And probably the most significant statistic that we have is, at this very moment, about 430,000 households all around southern, eastern and northeastern Taiwan are said to be without electric power at this time.

SAVIDGE: Jason, with winds OF about 160 miles an hour, that seems almost unbelievable. Have you had a feel of what exactly is happening on the streets out there? what it is like to try and go out at all?

BLATT: Well, we have seen quite a bit of footage of people attempting to walk in the street. Probably the most dangerous thing is to get hit by flying debris when you are walking down the street.

Actually, the rain has not been quite that bad here in Taipei, not yet. But we've seen people, like when they try to open an umbrella, and the umbrella just flies away. I have also heard very strong winds even here in the National Fire Administration, when we stand in the stairwell, you can hear it right above us, we are just below the roof.

The commissioner of the Taitong County in the eastern part of Taiwan, he is the elective county chief, he told the vice president this evening by telephone that this is the strongest typhoon that he's ever seen in his life. And I can imagine it would feel quite that way being that Taitong County is taking the brunt of this storm.

SAVIDGE: Jason Blatt, in Taipei, on the island of Taiwan, thank you very much for that update.

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