SHANGHAI : Typhoon Soudelor moved towards China on Saturday, weaker but still packing a punch, after killing at least four people and leaving a trail of destruction in Taiwan.

In mainland China, which faces Taiwan across a narrow strait, at least 250,000 people have been evacuated from the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang ahead of the typhoon’s arrival which is forecast for Saturday evening.

Already, strong winds and heavy rain have cut off power and destroyed farm crops along China’s eastern coast, state media reported. “The tap water has stopped. The electricity is out. I’m hiding at home and scared to go outside,” housewife Pan Danyun, who lives in Fujian’s Fuzhou city, told AFP.

Taiwanese authorities said four people had died in the storm including a firefighter in southern Pintung county and a man in the coastal town of Suao who was hit by a falling billboard. An eight-year-old girl and her mother had become the first fatalities when they were swept out to sea and died as the storm approached on Thursday. The dead girl’s twin was also missing in the same incident, while another nine-year-old girl was injured but survived.

Dramatic images showed an elderly man who was buried up to his waist in another mudslide being hauled out by emergency workers in the picturesque hot spring area of Wulai, just outside the capital Taipei. Media reports said that he had died, but authorities were unable to immediately confirm his death.