Thu, Jun 14, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Rescuers scramble as flood toll rises

RED ALERT:More than 100 villages in Greater Taichung, Nantou County, Chiayi County, Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County are under alert for potential mudslides

Staff writer, with CNA

Soldiers and National Airborne Service Corps rescuers take residents living in mountainous areas affected by torrential rains and floods to Fongshan Stadium in Greater Kaohsiung yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Days of heavy downpours around the country over the past few days have left six people dead, one missing and four injured, the Central Emergency Operation Center said yesterday.

Casualties were recorded in Nantou County and Greater Taichung, as well as in Taoyuan County, the center said.

The death toll was raised to six — from five on Tuesday — after the body of a woman was discovered in a riverbed in Greater Taichung’s Taiping District (太平), the center said.

A man in Taoyuan was listed as missing after reportedly being washed away by flash floods, it said.

The other five deaths included two workers in Nantou County who were killed after a mudslide buried their cottage shelter in a mountainous Aboriginal community.

The three other victims were a forest ranger at a Forestry Bureau station in Greater Taichung’s Dongshih District (東勢) and his girlfriend, both of whom were buried by a mudslide at the station, and a man whose body was recovered in Taoyuan County after being swept away by floodwater.

As of noon yesterday, 45 people were still stranded in the Sinjiayang Aboriginal community in Greater Taichung’s Heping District (和平) as traffic on the Central Cross-Island Highway was disrupted by rain-induced landslides near the road’s 79km mark.

Heping District administrator Huang Yung-sheng (黃永生) said his office had assigned staffers to carry food to Sinjiayang, which faces food shortages after three days of traffic disruption.

Highway workers had stepped up work to repair the blocked highway section at Sinjiayang to facilitate evacuation, said Hung Fan-yi (洪璠儀), head of the highway’s Kuguang office.

“We are focusing our efforts on clearing this section of the highway to facilitate evacuation of the stranded Sinjiayang residents,” Hung said, adding that the section was expected to reopen to traffic soon.

While a pathway connecting the Central Cross-Island Highway to the Chingshan Power Plant was also damaged by landslides, Hung said that about 100 staff and contract workers stranded at the plant were safe and that they have enough food for at least two weeks.

“We’ll begin to repair the pathway once normal traffic resumes on the section to Sinjiayang,” Hung said.

Meanwhile, the Council of Agriculture said that a total of 282 riverside locations in the central and southern parts of the nation remained under red alert for mudslides.

The locations are in 107 villages in Greater Taichung, Nantou County, Chiayi County, Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County.

Yellow alerts were issued for 471 riverside areas in 192 villages in Taoyuan County, Hsinchu County, Miaoli County, Greater Taichung, Nantou County, Yunlin County, Chiayi County, Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung, Pingtung County and Taitung County.

For areas under red alert, local governments should ensure that residents evacuate or relocate to safer places, council officials said.

In yellow-alert areas, residents have been advised to evacuate.

According to the Directorate General of Highways, 21 roads and bridges were closed as of yesterday due to damage caused by the rain, with 23 locations still unrepaired.

The agency advised people to avoid using roads in mountainous areas prone to landslides and rockslides.

This story has been viewed 3106 times.
TOP top