Wed, Jul 26, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Kaemi leaves light damage in its wake

BRIEF VISIT The typhoon didn't hang around as long as feared, but still left a trail of damaged crops, roofless houses and powerless neighborhoods behind it

By Shelley Shan and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chien Yen of Chuchi Township in Chiayi County cries after the roof of her house was ripped off by Typhoon Kaemi.

PHOTO: WANG YU-CHUN, TAIPEI TIMES

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) lifted the land warning for Typhoon Kaemi (凱米) at 5:30pm yesterday, as the storm began to move away from the nation early yesterday morning after a brief stay.

The bureau, however, continued to issue a sea warning for sea vessels operating in the Taiwan Strait.

Kaemi made landfall near Taitung at 11:45pm on Monday night and left the island around 4am yesterday.

Originally, the bureau had forecast that the typhoon would not leave Taiwan until noon yesterday.

"The structure [of the typhoon] was not damaged much when it landed in Taitung," said Wu De-rong (吳德榮).

"But it started moving faster after it crossed the mountain ranges in the south," Wu said.

By 5:30pm yesterday, the center of the typhoon was located 20km southwest of Kinmen. It was moving northwest at 17kph with a radius of 200km.

Unlike the recent Tropical Storm Bilis, Kaemi caused minor damage in both eastern and central Taiwan. No deaths or injuries were reported as of press time.

More than 30,000 households in Hualien and Taitung were left without power after gusts generated by the typhoon knocked over 79 electricity poles in the region.

Taipower said that it planned to resume the region's electricity supply by 9pm yesterday.

Over 80,000 households experienced power failure nationwide.

Household records for Taitung County's Chihshang (池上) Township were destroyed when the roof of the town archive was blown away by strong winds.

Longchuan (龍泉) Village in Taitung faced the threat of flooding from the potential overflow of nearby lakes.

Four tourists sustained minor injuries due to falling rocks on the Central Cross-Island Highway (中橫公路).

Heavy rain brought by the typhoon also flooded some areas in Pingtung and Chiayi counties.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said that 12 roads had been damaged nationwide as of 5pm yesterday, including 11 provincial highways and one country road.

More than 1,200 tourists on Green Island (綠島), Lanyu (蘭嶼) and Penghu were stranded because ferries operating between these islands and Taiwan proper had all been canceled.

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) canceled trains operating on the South and North Links and along the East Coast on Monday night, but it quickly resumed full operations -- both northbound and southbound -- at 8am yesterday. The airports in Penghu and Kinmen remained closed yesterday as the inclement weather in the areas continued.

International flights departing from Kaohsiung Airport were mostly canceled or postponed yesterday. Domestic flights, however, began to operate after some of the airlines announced that they had resumed their flight schedules yesterday afternoon.

The bureau said that although the typhoon had completed its sweep across Taiwan, showers will continue nationwide for the rest of the week.

Kaemi caused mild damage to agriculture across the country, according to the Council of Agriculture's press release yesterday.

As of 10am yesterday, the typhoon had caused agricultural losses worth NT$30.9 million (US$936,970), damaging mainly bananas, pomelos and persimmon crops, the council said.

The council also said that it had more than 4,800 tonnes of vegetables in storage, and that it would coordinate with agricultural groups and farmers to release frozen vegetables in batches, in response to the needs of markets and consumers.

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