Wed, Jul 07, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Five bodies found, more rain to come

STRICKEN The death toll climbed to 26 with another 13 people missing, while the Council of Agriculture estimated crop and related losses at NT$5.75 billion

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

A portion of a riverbank along Nantou County's Chenyulan River lies in ruins after flooding brought by Tropical Storm Mindulle. The riverbank had been rebuilt after Typhoon Toraji struck in the summer of 2001.

PHOTO: CHU CHUN-YEN, TAIPEI TIMES

People in vulnerable areas in the center and south of the country must stay on alert for heavy rain, strong gusts and lightning strikes until Friday, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday.

The death toll from Tropical Storm Mindulle rose yesterday to 26, with 16 injured and 13 people still missing. According to the central government's July 2 Flood Disaster Relief Center, 2,177 people have been rescued as of yesterday afternoon.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, 78 out of 122 heavily damaged segments of major roads in central and southern Taiwan have been repaired.

It said that it would spend more than NT$2 billion to rebuild and repair damaged roads.

Meanwhile, stricken sections of Taichung County are expected to need more than NT$1.8 billion to be rebuilt.

Around 1,600 county residents are staying in public shelters, while hundreds of residents remain cut off in mountainous areas.

"We will do our best to request assistance from the central government," Taichung County Commissioner Huang Chung-sheng (黃仲生) said yesterday at a municipal meeting.

On Sunday, a garbage disposal crisis emerged in Taichung County when rising water levels on the Tachia River destroyed a 600m embankment in front of the Houli Incinerator, then washing away 300m of road leading to the entrance.

Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) head Chang Juu-en (張祖恩) inspected the incinerator on Monday. According to the EPA, the incinerator resumed normal operations yesterday. Unwanted materials and ruined furniture were delivered to the incinerator for disposal.

The Council of Agriculture yesterday updated losses in the agricultural sector. At least NT$5.75 billion in crop and infrastructure losses was reported.

Council Chairman Lee Ching-lung (李金龍) said that the council would more strictly regulate agricultural development, such as the farming of vegetables, fruit and tea, in mountainous areas.

"Mountainous areas in Taiwan have been exploited for decades. Now we are paying the price," Lee said.

Lee said that ROCSAT-2, the nation's second satellite, might offer assistance in locating illegal activities that jeopardize the ecosystems of remote mountain areas.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine yesterday repeated its warning that farmers must dispose of dead animals as soon as possible and that disinfection tasks had to be carried out immediately.

Also see story:

COA cuts duties on imports as vegetable prices take off

Mindulle could end up soaking vehicle owners' wallets

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