Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Soulik toll rises amid mass repair efforts

HEAVY LOSSES:In addition to claiming three lives, the powerful storm wrecked NT$369m worth of crops and cause NT$16m in damages to 237 schools nationwide

By Shelley Shan and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters, with CNA

Loofah lie in the dirt in Puli Township, Nantou County, yesterday after they were uprooted by strong winds brought by Typhoon Soulik.

Photo: Chen Fong-li, Taipei Times

A 57-year old man who went missing on Saturday while mountain climbing was found dead in Pingtung County yesterday, bringing the death toll from Typhoon Soulik to three, officials said.

The man, surnamed Chan (成), was discovered by rescuers at 6:29am at the Liangshan Waterfall in the county’s Majia Township (瑪家) during a second attempt to find him, local authorities said.

Soulik has also left one person missing and 123 injured, as well as causing more than NT$369 million (US$10.2 million) in agricultural losses, the latest government figures show.

On Saturday, Chen Ching-rong (陳錦榮), a 50-year old policeman in New Taipei City (新北市), died after he was struck in the head by a brick that had blown off a house during strong winds, while a 54-year-old woman in Miaoli County died after falling from a rooftop.

The missing person was reported to have fallen into a river in Greater Taichung, but rescuers have been unable to locate the person or the witness who notified police.

The Central Weather Bureau lifted land warnings for Soulik on Saturday afternoon.

A total of 61 people were still trapped in Dahu Township (大湖) in Miaoli County yesterday after about 200m of the only road connecting the village to the outside world collapsed into a deep valley on Saturday, leaving residents in more than 20 households stranded.

Dahu Township Mayor Chen Yung-fu (陳永福) said his office is working to clear a new path.

Meanwhile, emergency crews said they were trying to restore traffic, electricity and water across the nation. Soulik affected transportation and commerce, and left many homes without water or electricity.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications said it was still trying to restore traffic on 17 provincial highways and six county highways after some sections collapsed or were disrupted by landslides in the aftermath of the storm.

Taiwan Power Co (台電, Taipower) said 33,735 homes in Nantou, Miaoli, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu counties were still without power, adding that it had restored power to 1.1 million homes.

Taiwan Water Corp (台灣自來水) said that about 15,430 homes, mainly in mountainous areas in Hsinchu County, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung were still without water. However, it said water in Hsinchu County’s Guansi Township (關西) and Miaoli County’s Nanjhung Township (南庄) would be restored by 3pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said that as of 9am, 237 schools had reported damage from the storm totaling NT$16 million.

It said schools in Yilan County had suffered the most damage, with 51 institutions affected, followed by New Taipei City with 45 schools and Hsinchu County with 36.

Meanwhile, construction workers were clearing a section of county highway No. 62, which connects the county’s Taian Hot Spring area. The road has been plagued by falling rocks and an estimated 100 tourists have had their trips disrupted after the road was closed on Saturday.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday asked the Council of Agriculture to expedite the provision of subsides to affected farmers.

The council said that, so far, most of the agricultural losses had been borne by farmers of pear, banana, paddy rice, guava and persimmon crops.

Accompanied by Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) and other officials, Ma inspected the damage in Sinwu (新屋) and Dayuan (大園) townships in Taoyuan County.

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