Thousands evacuated for Usagi

WREAKING HAVOC::The typhoon caused power outages in about 100,000 households, mainly in southern counties, but power supplies were restored by yesterday evening

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - Page 1

More than 4,000 people in 11 cities and counties were preemptively evacuated as torrential rainfall brought by Typhoon Usagi threatened people in southern and eastern Taiwan, the Central Emergency Operation Center said.

Usagi is the strongest typhoon the nation has seen in 20 years.

Central Weather Bureau statistics showed that Tiansiang (天祥) in Hualien County has seen the highest amount of rainfall in the nation by 2pm, with accumulated rainfall between Thursday and yesterday topping 785mm.

Tiansiang was followed by Siangyang (向陽) in Taitung County and Dahanshan (大漢山), where accumulated rainfall reached 754mm and 718mm respectively.

Usagi moved further south than the bureau had forecasted, with rainfall falling below its estimates.

By 2pm yesterday, 673 people remained in shelters.

Meanwhile, the typhoon yesterday caused power outages in about 100,000 households, mainly in Pingtung and Taitung counties.

By yesterday evening, the Taiwan Power Co (台電) managed to restore the power supply to the affected homes.

In Kinmen County, eight men and four women were injured by falling trees on Saturday.

Torrential rainfall brought by Usagi devastated the hot spring scenic area in Jhihben (知本), Taitung County, with incidents and damage reported at both the north bank and south bank of the Jhihben River.

The rising water caused the levee on the north bank to collapse, leading to inundations in residents’ houses.

The Hoya Hot Springs Resort & Spa on the river’s south bank was affected by mudflows.

Images captured on the hotel’s surveillance tapes showed guests hurrying to leave.

“We were terrified,” one of the guests said. “We heard a loud bang and the front desk called us to come down. We did not bring anything with us. When the elevator opened, we were dumbfounded to see mud flowing in. We quickly fled.”

Infrastructural damage was reported in Kenting and Hengchun in Pingtung County as well.

Meanwhile, passengers eager to return Taipei after a four-day holiday started lining up at the railway station in Hualien early yesterday morning, as many who were supposed to return on Saturday were forced to spend another day in Hualien due to the cancelation of the Taipei-Hualien train service on Saturday evening.

The bureau yesterday lifted both land and sea alerts for Typhoon Usagi as it swept toward southern China, causing 106 international flights to be canceled and delaying 23 others.

Hong Kong International Airport has suspended all the flights scheduled to depart or arrive after 6pm yesterday.

Passengers traveling to Hong Kong today are advised to contact their airline before going to the airport.

Chances of showers today are high in southern and eastern Taiwan as well as in Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.

Some regions in northern and central Taiwan might also see afternoon thundershowers.