After Kalmaegi

Relief workers continued search and rescue operations yesterday after Tropical Storm Kalmaegi wreaked havoc in southern and central Taiwan the previous day.

Casualties from floods and mudslides were reported in the worst-hit areas in central and southern Taiwan, where up to 950mm of rain fell in less than two days, the National Fire Agency said.

Nearly 60,000 government and civilian rescuers have been mobilized to combat floods, conduct rescue missions and help clear thick mud that covered roads and filled residences, it said.

As for now, the death toll is 18, with the latest casualty an elderly woman who was earlier reported to be missing after falling into a river while riding her motorcycle in Pingtung County yesterday morning, the National Disaster Response Center said.

Seven people, believed to have been washed away by floods or buried alive, remained missing, while eight others were injured, it said.

Kaohsiung County suffered the heaviest human toll nationwide, with eight fatalities, seven missing and five injured, followed by Tainan County with three fatalities and three injured.

The other two deaths occurred in Chiayi and Miaoli counties.

At least five low-lying areas in central and southern Taiwan were still inundated by floods brought by torrential rains, the center said.

Utilities in southern Taiwan have also been interrupted, with 12,994 households still without electricity and 268,473 homes without running water. The center expected power and water to be resorted by last night.

Kalmaegi also ravaged fields and farms. Council of Agriculture statistics showed losses reaching NT$581 million (US$19.1 million) as of 4pm yesterday, with the majority — or NT$445 million — coming from damage to crops.

By region, Yunlin County was the hardest hit, suffering losses totaling NT$101.82 million, making it eligible for subsidies and low-interest loans under the country’s disaster relief laws.

The second hardest-hit area was Tainan County, recording losses amounting to NT$94.97 million, followed by Kaohsiung County with NT$49.13 million, Nantou County with NT$45.25 million, Changhua County with NT$31.85 million and Taichung County with NT$28.64 million.

Chu Jin-shi (朱金錫), the council’s chief of farmers’ welfare, urged farmers who qualify for relief under the law to take advantage of the subsidies to get back on their feet.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday urged the public to clean up flooded areas in their neighborhood to prevent the spread of diseases, including dengue fever.

From Taipei Times.

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2 Responses

  1. Today, I read the news about how a small typhoon actually caused such a damage. One of the reasons (in Kaohsiung area) is that farmers grow fruits trees on the river bed, which are not supposed to be there. Taiwanese are used to make the best use of the land since the limited space. They grow veggie and fruits wherever they can find the space. The authority let them. In fact, the authority leases the land on the river bed to those farmer. But according to the regulation, only plants shorter than 50 cm can be grown on the river bed. Truth: the farmers don’t give a dame about the regulation. They grow fruits like: banana, and wax apple. Illegal of course. But what surprises me in this news is: the authority said they would not dare to ask the farmers to stop. In fact, they would not even do anything (fine the farmers or destroy the fruit trees) because that would “upset” the farmers.
    OMG… I cannot believe that is from the authority!!! So if those farmers are growing, say marijuana, would they still let them grow just because they don’t want to upset the farmer????
    This is a crazy world.

  2. @ Jo
    I don’t know about the details you just mentioned. But I heard rumors about the fact that flood constructions are so bad that corruption should be involved.
    Today on the news, it seems that the General Prosecutor Office opened an investigation…

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