Mon, Aug 20, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan cleans up after typhoon

LONG WAIT On the Suhua Highway, 26 people were stranded for more than 10 hours by landslides and mudflows and had to wait to be rescued by firemen

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The ground at an orchard in Hualien's Juisui agricultural area is covered with pomelos yesterday that were blown off trees by the strong winds brought by Typhoon Sepat.

PHOTO: CNA

The nation was still busy cleaning up the mess left by Typhoon Sepat yesterday, with the rain continuing to disrupt the transportation nationwide and flooding many localities of southern Taiwan.

More than 100 domestic flights were canceled yesterday. The majority of the flights were those heading to the outlying islands. International flights, on the other hand, resumed normal operation yesterday.

Airports in Hengchun (恆春), Kinmen, Chimei (七美), Nangan (南竿) and Beigan (北竿) remained closed.

The Taiwan Railway Administration said yesterday that the railway section between Shifen (十分) and Chintung (菁桐) stations was closed because of a landslide. It estimated that the damage will take at least 10 days to repair.

The administration also reported landslides in two railway sections on its North Link.

The Alishan Forest Railway remained closed yesterday and is scheduled to open tomorrow.

Landslides and mudflows interrupted the traffic on Provincial Highway No. 9, also known as the Suhua Highway (蘇花公路).

A report from the Central News Agency said a total of 26 people were stranded on the highway for more than 10 hours. They were later rescued by the local fire station.

By 6pm yesterday, the Directorate General of Highways had managed to reopen 25 provincial highways and three county roads for traffic, while 17 provincial highways and eight county roads remained closed.

The southbound lane of the Nanchou Interchange (南洲交流道) of National Freeway No. 3, also known as the Formosa Freeway, were closed yesterday because of flooding.

Mail from Orchid Island (蘭嶼) was delayed as both air and sea transportation links between the island and Taiwan proper were suspended.

The National Disaster Control Center reported on Saturday that the typhoon had injured 24 people.

The Central Weather Bureau lifted sea and land alerts for Sepat at 2:30pm yesterday. However, the bureau's announcement was immediately followed by a heavy rain alert for Taitung County and counties south of Hsinchu County, particularly in the mountainous areas of Changhua, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties.

The bureau also forecast that heavy rain will continue today in the mountainous areas south of Chiayi County, cautioning residents of the possiblity of landslides, mudflows and suddenly rising rivers.

Meanwhile, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) decided to investigate soaring grocery prices in the wake of Sepat.

FTC officials will today begin looking into whether traders of groceries, particularly leafy vegetables, have hoarded produce or conspired to raise prices.

In the wake of the typhoon, which wreaked havoc on fields in central, eastern and southern Taiwan with strong winds and torrential rains, the prices of leafy vegetables have skyrocketed, with high-altitude Chinese cabbage surging to NT$260 each and spring onions rising to NT$100 per catty (about 600g).

Meanwhile, a Hsinchu Science Park administration official said yesterday that the operations at the park remained normal despite the typhoon.

Park director-general Huang De-ruei (黃得瑞) said there was no damage reported as the winds and rain Sepat brought to the area were not as strong as expected.

High-tech companies at the park reported no disruptions to operations as supplies of water and electricity remained normal, he said.

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