Sun, Jul 04, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Typhoon Mindulle leaves fourteen dead

AFTERMATH Students were unable to reach test centers yesterday to write their college entrance exams due to the flooding of streets, which reached waist depth in places

By Cody Yiu and Wang Hsiao-wen  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Members of the Pingtung County Fire Department use rubber dinghies to rescue people caught in floods caused by Typhoon Mindulle yesterday.

PHOTO: PINGTUNG COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Taiwanese death toll from typhoon Mindulle stood at 14 last night, while agricultural losses estimated at more than NT$500 million (US$14.8 million) were reported.

According to the latest reports yesterday, the typhoon left six people injured and eight missing. In Taichung County alone, four people were killed, three injured and two reported missing.

Two people were killed in Ho-ping Village in Taichung County on Friday night when a mudslide swept away the car they were travelling in. Another mudslide in the same village yesterday morning claimed the lives of a 7-year-old boy and an unidentified adult.

Six people were evacuated from the remote village near Chiufenerh Mountain in Nantou County.

The continuous rains over the past few days have resulted in floods in central regions such as Changhwa and Taichung counties.

On the last day of the Joint College Entrance Examination yesterday, several students were unable to reach test centers due to the flooding of streets. Water levels reached waist depth in several areas, and some students sought help from the police and fire departments.

The Central Weather Bureau yesterday cancelled its typhoon warning, but said that heavy rains would continue in the central and southern parts of the country until Tuesday.

The Council of Agriculture also alarmed the public to the risk of landslides. Torrential rains rushing down the mountains and thinning out vegetation could cause severe landslides in the south, as well as in the central mountainous area.

Twelve counties and 76 towns have been put on an alert list indicating the possibility of landslides.

"Although the waterfront warning has been canceled, due to an air current from the northwest, heavy downpours are expected to continue in central and southern regions until June 6, while sporadic rains might occur in other parts of Taiwan," weather bureau meteorologist Wang Yao-hua (王耀華) said yesterday.

As of yesterday morning, 881mm of rain was measured in Yuyoushan in Kaohsiung County since the typhoon hit on Friday, the highest figure nationwide, followed by 874mm in Weiliaoshan and 814mm in Alishan in Chiayi County.

Water levels at national reservoirs rose over the past two days, with Tsengwen Reservoir in Tainan County accumulating 419mm of rain, while Nanhua Reservoir, which supplies water to Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chiayi, had 560mm of rain.

The Taiwan Railway Administration said yesterday that trains from Taipei to Taichung and from Kaohsiung to the north had been canceled due to the serious flooding in western regions.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun, Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) yesterday visited southern regions where the typhoon had wreaked havoc.

Yu urged officials of the central and local governments to do their best to assist the stricken areas.

"Evacuation plans and ad hoc shelters should also be established, just in case," Yu said.

The Ministry of the Interior yesterday announced that it would offer financial assistance of NT$100,000 to each family in which someone had been killed as a result of the typhoon.

Although the typhoon brought plenty of rain to Taiwan proper, the outlying islands of Penghu County did not receive enough to alleviate a year-long water shortage there, water company officials said.

They said the 92mm of rain which fell on Penghu was far from sufficient to break the drought.

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