Mon, Jun 11, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Rain causes floods in southern areas

DELUGE:The rain forced hundreds to evacuate and caused a major landslide, with some areas receiving 504mm of rain in a seven-hour period. More is on the way

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A truck sits abandoned in the flooded Donggang River in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township yesterday.

Photo: Lo Hsin-chen, Taipei Times

Torrential rain that began on Saturday night has caused flooding in central and southern parts of the country, damaging roads and forcing more than 500 people to evacuate.

The Pingtung County Fire Department helped move six elderly residents from a nursing home in Gaoshu Township (高樹) as a surging river threatened to flood the area.

The only access to the county’s Wutai Township (霧台) was cut off by landslides on two sections of Highway No. 24. The electrical grid in Wutai was also damaged by rain.

Residents in Sihgou Village (泗溝) in Wanluan Township (萬巒) had to wade through thigh-high floodwater to leave.

Laiyi Township (來義) also evacuated residents.

The Directorate-General of Highways closed the makeshift road on the Central Cross-Island Highway after a huge landslide was reported at section 79K of the highway.

Three farmers who were picking vegetables at the time fled to avoid injury.

Between 12am and 7pm yesterday, Shangdewen (上德文) in Sandimen Township (三地門) in Pingtung received 504mm of rain. Dahanshan (大漢山) in Chunrih Township (春日) and Weiliaoshan (尾寮山) in Sandimen Township had accumulations of 458mm and 412mm respectively.

All the locations had what the Central Weather Bureau defines as extremely torrential rain — meaning that accumulated rainfall reached 350mm within a period of 24 hours.

Because the rain is expected to continue, the Executive Yuan has asked the public to avoid mountainous or coastal areas during this period of time.

Southern parts of the country can expect extremely heavy rain over the next two days, while the weather in other parts of Taiwan will also be rainy due to an air front from the southwest, the bureau said.

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) has asked relevant ministries to take precautionary measures and support local governments if rescue efforts are needed, the Cabinet said in a statement yesterday.

Two emergency response centers have been opened in southern Taiwan, and the Council of Agriculture has a task force on standby to respond to mudslides, the Cabinet said.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs also has a task force ready to distribute water pumps in the event of flooding, it added.

The public is urged to avoid traveling near waterways, the Cabinet said.

In northern and northeastern areas of the country, afternoon thundershowers can be expected for the next two days, it said.

Kaohsiung and Pingtung could continue to experience extremely heavy showers, with up to 350mm of rainfall possible within a 24 hour period, the bureau said.

Heavy rain could also be expected in northern Taiwan after tomorrow, it said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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