Typhoon Matsa Roars Through Taiwan

Taiwan (search) lifted sea alerts around its coast Saturday after Typhoon Matsa (search) churned toward mainland China, but the storm caused considerable damage to agriculture and infrastructure, the government said.

Matsa brought heavy rains to the island's northern half on Thursday and Friday, swelling rivers and flooding low-lying areas. No deaths were reported, the Disaster Relief Center (search) said.

However, the typhoon caused an estimated 46.89 million New Taiwan dollars (US$1.47 million; euro1.19 million) in damage to the island's agriculture, poultry and fishery industries, the Council of Agriculture said on its Web site.

The storm destroyed 368 hectares (909 acres) of fields and orchards, with banana plantations in central Taiwan's Nantou region especially hard-hit, the council said.

The Central Weather Bureau lifted sea alerts Saturday morning, giving fishing vessels and other naval traffic the all clear to resume their normal activities.

Meanwhile, relief workers were rebuilding several bridges and roads in mountainous central Taiwan that were swept away by mudslides.

More than 55,000 households in northern and central Taiwan lost power during the storm, and national utility Taipower said Saturday it was trying to restore electricity to the few thousand dwellings that were still without power.

Several places in mountainous areas of northern Hsinchu and central Taichung counties recorded rainfall of more than 100 centimeters (40 inches) over the past two days, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Even though the typhoon moved toward China (search) on Saturday, mountainous areas should still prepare for more heavy rain over the weekend, the bureau said.