Mon, Sep 20, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Typhoon Fanapi pounds Taiwan, soaks the south

SAFETY MEASURESThe government evacuated 10,000 residents from landslide-prone areas beforehand, while much of the south has declared today a typhoon day

By Shelley Shan and Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporters, with Agencies

A man reacts as his umbrella snaps against strong winds as Typhoon Fanapi hits Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: NICKY LOH, REUTERS

Taiwan was pounded by winds of more than 200kph yesterday as Typhoon Fanapi crippled transportation nationwide and prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents from mountainous areas prone to devastating landslides.

While Fanapi made landfall in Hualien County’s Fengbin Township (豐濱) at 8:40am, severe flooding was reported in southern Taiwan. Statistics from the Central Weather Bureau showed that between 12am and 7:10pm, Majia (瑪家), Pingtung County, topped other areas with the highest accumulation of rainfall at 890mm. It was followed by the county’s Shangdewen (上德文) and Weiliaoshan (尾寮山), with accumulated rainfall of 835.5mm and 781.5mm. Kaohsiung County’s Gangshan (岡山) and Fongsyong (鳳雄) recorded accumulated rainfalls of 656.5mm and 622mm respectively.

Flooding also occurred in Pingtung County’s Linbian (林邊), Ciangyuan (羌園) and Jiadong (佳冬) townships, Kaohsiung County’s Dashu (大樹), Renwu (仁武), Dashe (大社) and Niaosong (鳥松) townships, as well as four of Kao­hsiung City’s nine administrative districts.

At 7pm, the bureau raised the rainfall estimates in Kaohsiung’s plains to 1,000mm and to 1,200mm in the mountainous areas. The estimated rainfall in the Pingtung plains was elevated to 700mm and to 1,400mm in the mountainous areas.

At press time, Taitung, Kao­hsiung city and county, Nantou County’s Renai (仁愛) and Sinyi (信義) townships and Chiayi County’s Alishan Township (阿里山) have declared today a typhoon day, canceling both work and classes.

Kinmen County announced work and class cancellations before noon today while Penghu County announced all classes were canceled today but it would remain a working day.

The Central Emergency Operation Center reported that 10,000 residents from remote areas vulnerable to landslides, mostly in Chia­yi, Nantou and Pingtung counties, have been evacuated to temporary shelters set up by the military.

CWB forecaster Hsieh Ming-chang (謝明昌) said the nation’s heavy rain belt had switched to the southern region because of the air stream from the south.

“Heavy rain from the storm’s outer layers could still affect ­Taiwan’s southern regions and that’s something we need to pay attention to,” a Central Emergency Operation Center official added, advising the public to take precautions against possible flash flooding.

Typhoon Fanapi also disrupted ­transportation nationwide.

All domestic air services were suspended yesterday. China Airlines suspended all international departures from Kao­hsiung City, while other carriers, including Hong Kong’s Dragonair and China Eastern Airlines, also canceled flights to regional destinations departing from Taipei.

Several provincial and county highways — notably Provincial Highway No. 18 leading to the Ali­shan area — in Taoyuan, Nantou, Yunlin, Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Taitung counties were also blocked either because the roads had collapsed or because bridges were closed off where the water level underneath was too high.

The Taiwan Railway Administration and the Taiwan High Rail System managed to resume partial operations by 6pm yesterday.

TV footage from Hualien showed lines of fallen trees, several houses with their roofs ripped off and an upturned truck. TV footage also showed several parked cars crushed by fallen trees in Taipei City and floods partially submerging a bridge in Kaohsiung County.

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