Tue, Sep 21, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Nation assesses the damage after storm

WORSE THAN MORAKOTSome Kaohsiung residents said the flooding caused by Typhoon Fanapi was worse than last year’s disaster, and pleaded for more assistance

By Shelley Shan, Vincent Y. Chao and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

An Amphibious Assault Vehicle-7 yesterday carries some residents away from Zihguan Township in Kaohsiung County, which was ravaged by Typhoon Fanapi.

PHOTO: CNA

The nation yesterday took stock of the damage caused by Typhoon Fanapi, which hit Taiwan on Sunday, causing billions of NT dollars in damage and leaving one person dead and about 100 injured.

Fanapi, the strongest storm to hit the nation this year, with gusts of up to 220kph, made landfall on the east coast on Sunday and dumped up to 1,000mm of rain in the south.

Kaohsiung City police authorities said the body of a 22-year-old woman was found in 20mm of water by a bystander on Jhonghua Second Road, near the Jiouru Second Road intersection at about 6:30am. A preliminary investigation found no other external causes of death.

Police authorities said the woman, surnamed Wu (吳), was in her fourth year at Cheng Shiu University. The student was apparently on her way home from her part-time job at a fast food restaurant when she drowned.

The Kaohsiung area bore the brunt of the high-levels of rainfall brought by Fanapi, which lasted until early yesterday morning. Local media reported that floodwaters near the intersection had reached waist level during peak rainfall on Sunday night.

The Central Emergency Operations Center (CEOC), a cross-­departmental task force formed by officials from different government agencies, said 111 people were injured in the storm.

In its damage assessment, the CEOC said several areas in the southwest were still underwater yesterday, including Nanzih (楠梓) in Kaohsiung City, Rende Township (仁德) in Tainan County and Linbian Township (林邊) in Pingtung County.

TV footage showed residents of Nanzih picking up products floating by after convenience stores were destroyed by the flood. Rescue workers delivered food to Rende, where floods trapped residents.

The military said it had ­dispatched a total of 7,888 soldiers nationwide to deal with the typhoon.

By yesterday morning, soldiers had helped 7,508 people evacuate dangerous areas and housed 513 people in military units. The military set up five medical treatment centers in military bases in the south and planned to set up another four if necessary.

Soldiers helped residents clean away garbage and sludge, remove felled trees and clean up damaged sections of buildings.

Meanwhile, the National Airborne Corps said its 18 helicopters were ready to participate in rescue work.

Fanapi caused power outages in approximately 890,000 households nationwide. Water supply was also suspended in about 17,000 households. Both Taiwan Water Corp (自來水公司) and Taiwan Power Co (台電) were scheduled to resume water and electricity supply today.

Aside from damage to provincial highways, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said the South Link (南迴鐵路), one of the main transportation systems connecting the nation’s southern and eastern regions, was severely damaged. The railway tracks on the Taimali River Bridge (太麻里溪橋) were washed out by surging water in the river, the ministry said.

The Taiwan Railway Administration said it expected that the South Link would be reopened within two weeks after the water recedes.

The Industrial Development Bureau said companies in the Renwu and Dashe industrial zones in Kaohsiung County suffered the brunt of the damage, with NT$3 billion (US$94 million) in estimated losses.

Operations at many facilities were suspended on Sunday after massive rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks, submerging roads and factories.

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