Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Kalmaegi leaves 13 people dead

DISASTER Residents in the central and southern parts of the country struggled as the storm dumped 400mm to 1,000mm of rain, leaving severe flooding in its wake

By Meggie Lu and Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Workers at a chicken farm in Shetou Township in Changhua County use wheelbarrows to move some of the 17,000 chickens that drowned when the farm was flooded yesterday.


Tropical Storm Kalmaegi lashed central and southern Taiwan with torrential rains yesterday, triggering flash floods and landslides that left at least 13 people dead and several missing as it moved toward China.

Although Kalmaegi brought only mild to moderate wind levels, damage was widespread as it dumped 400mm to 1,000mm of rain on the central and southern areas over the past 24 hours.

The downpour caused landslides and flooding in mountainous regions and brought knee-deep floods in some city streets.

Places that had never or rarely suffered floods, including Hsinchu City, Taichung County’s Taiping City (太平市) and Tainan County’s Baihe Township (白河) saw floods reaching one-story high.

As of press time, Kalmaegi had left 13 dead, eight missing and eight injured, the Central Emergency Operation Center said.

An army officer who was inspecting the barracks in Taichung County died after slipping into a ditch. A man and a woman who were rescued from their home by a police motorboat went missing after the boat overturned in flood waters in Tainan County, the center said.

Television showed firefighters using ladders to rescue several people trapped in a flooded house in Yunlin County, and several drivers being rescued after hollering for help on top of their trucks in a flooded freeway in Taichung.

One homeowner atop a hill in Chiayi County’s Chu-chi Township (竹崎) saw her yard collapse and slide down the mountain in a mudslide, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Another homeowner, surnamed Chi (紀), in Miaoli City, saw his kitchen and bathroom wash down the river. Chi lashed out at the government for ignoring his complaints in the past two years. He had demanded that repairs be done around his home after the Guishan Bridge was renovated, which he said had affected the foundation of his house.

“Does somebody have to die before the government takes us seriously?” he asked.

Down at the nation’s southern tip, Pingtung County received 692mm of rainfall, with many of its coastline villages flooded as high as 80cm, CNA reported.

The county government ordered the evacuation of residents of Donggang Township’s (東港) Dapeng Village (大鵬) — which is right next to the Niupu Creek (牛埔溪) — to a nearby Buddhist temple.

Kaohsiung County was also one of the severely affected regions, with 76 cases of flood-related emergencies as of 6pm yesterday, the center said.

A private residence beside the Paolai Bridge in Liugui Township (六龜) was buried in a mud and rock slide, the county said.

While the homeowner escaped with his four-year-old daughter, his one-year-old daughter, his pregnant wife and his brother-in-law were buried alive, the center said.

No major damage, deaths, or injury were reported in Taipei County, Keelung and the East Coast area.

Nationwide, electricity was cut off in 40,000 homes, mostly in Nantou County, Taichung City, Taichung County, Tainan County and Kaohsiung County, the center said.

The center added that 673,000 households had no tap water, including about 500,000 in Tainan and 160,000 in Kaohsiung County.


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In terms of road blocks, 50 roads, including national highways, city roads and mountain roads, were damaged by the flood, with 47 of them remaining disconnected as of 6pm yesterday, the center said.

The damage on Provincial Highway 20 and Kaohsiung County Highway 133 left 350 tourists stranded in the Baolai (寶來) hot spring area. Approximately 700 tourists were also grounded in the Sun Moon Lake and Lishan (梨山) scenic areas.

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