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Taiwan cancels flights & closes schools for typhoon Maria

On Tuesday, July 10th, airlines cancelled or rescheduled flights and several regions in northern Taiwan closed schools and offices as the island braces itself for Typhoon Maria. Train services were also likely to be rescheduled, the semi-official Central News Agency reported, but the island's high-speed rail system was operating normally.

Maria is expected to hit the northern half of Taiwan the hardest, as it moves in a west-northwesterly direction at 30 kph, weather officials said. Several airlines, including China Airlines, EVA Airways, Cathay Pacific and Tigerair Taiwan, have cancelled flights.

Meanwhile, the weather bureau has urged the public to avoid water activities and warned fishing boats to take precautions. Dozens of ferry services to offshore islands were suspended on Monday. Local television footage also showed farmers rushing to harvest fruit and vegetables ahead of the typhoon.

Other meteorologists tracking the cyclone claim it is on a collision course with mainland China and Japan as well.

According to straitstimes.com, Morakot was the deadliest typhoon to hit the island in recorded history, killing nearly 700 people, most of them in landslides, in 2009.

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