Two men died and one woman was injured in a mudslide in the Lushan (廬山) Hot Spring Zone in Nantou County after the area was hit by torrential rains over the weekend.
Chen Yung-hsiang (陳永祥), 74, died in the mudslide, while his wife Chen Chan A-yuan (陳詹阿元), 69, sustained injuries.
The couple, who owned a pear farm in the village, and another man took refuge in a shack from the torrential rain. The identity of the other victim, a male worker, was not made public.
Rescuers from the Renai Fire Department of Nantou County managed to save Chen’s wife. Fearing that the torrential rain could trigger more mudslides, the Nantou County Government began evacuating tourists, hoteliers and residents in Lushan on Sunday. However, the evacuation was disrupted by a mudslide on the Nanfong (南豐) section on Highway 14.
About 40 tour buses carrying tourists were stuck in traffic for nearly 13 hours before they left the mountain early yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, rescuers from the Greater Taichung Fire Department saved five construction workers of the Third River Management Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, who were trapped in a shoal because of the surging water in the Da-an River (大安溪).
About 2,000 people were trapped in mountainous areas of Greater Kaohsiung after several roads and bridges were blocked because of the flooding, with the most affected areas being Namasiya (那瑪夏) and Taoyuan (桃源) districts. Local authorities said most of the people who were trapped have been relocated to shelters.
More than 300 troops have been dispatched to Greater Kaohsiung’s Jiasian (甲仙) and Liouguei (六龜) districts to help evacuate residents and assist with relief work.
Torrential rain brought by a frontal system and the southwest monsoon continued to pummel central and southern Taiwan yesterday. The Directorate General of Highways said that road damage was found on highways 8, 14, 21, 24 and 28, affecting residents in Greater Taichung, Nantou, Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung.
Because of safety concerns, the agency also launched preventive closures of road sections on highways 14, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27 and 88, as well as county highways 149 and 169.
The Alishan Forest Recreation Park in Chiayi County and the Aowanda Forest Recreation Park in Nantou were both closed yesterday.
The Council of Agriculture also said that heavy rain had inflicted nationwide agricultural losses of NT$28.2 million (US$943,000) as of 4pm yesterday, with damage reported in Nantou, Pingtung, Chiayi, Greater Kaohsiung, Greater Tainan, Yunlin and Taitung.
Statistics from the Central Weather Bureau showed accumulations in Sandimen Township’s (三地門) Shangdewen (上德文), Pingtung County, from Saturday through yesterday had reached 1,150mm, the highest level nationwide.
For today, the bureau has issued torrential rain alerts to residents in Greater Taichung, Nantou, Chiayi, Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung.
Those in Miaoli, Changhua, Yunlin and Greater Tainan must also be alert to the dangers brought by torrential rains, the bureau said.
Because of a frontal system, heavy rains would occur on the northern and northeastern regions today as well, the bureau said.
The bureau added that the rain in central and southern Taiwan would not ease until Thursday, when the southwest monsoon is expected to weaken.
In related news, a tropical depression had formed near Guam yesterday morning, which could potentially turn into a tropical storm. The bureau said the tropical depression was off the south coast of Guam and was moving slowly in the northwesterly direction.