Thu, Jul 08, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Storm damage to pass NT$12.2bn

HAVOC Unmanned aircraft and satellites are being used to record damage to river networks and rural communities


Rescue workers prepare to airlift supplies to people in Wushikeng, a village in mountainous Hoping township, Taichung County, yesterday. All roads to the village were cut after flooding and mudslides caused by Tropical Storm Mindulle.


As of yesterday, the death toll of floods that brought havoc to the center and south of the country was revised downwards to 25, with 16 injured and another 12 still missing. The total financial loss resulting from Tropical Storm Mindulle in all sectors is expected to pass NT$12.2 billion.

Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) yesterday said the government had done its utmost to rescue people who had been stranded. As of yesterday, the number of people rescued from flood-affected areas or areas cut off because of damaged roads stood at 2,214.

As of yesterday, 550,000 dwellings were still affected by a lack of water services. A total of 718,700 families were originally affected.

Another 213,500 dwellings suffered power outages, although by yesterday only 9,000 dwellings were still to be reconnected.

Chen said that losses in both the industrial sector and business were about NT$4.7 billion.

According to the Council of Agriculture, total losses in the agricultural sector, the sector hardest hit by the storm, had exceeded NT$7.45 billion.

In the wake of the flood, the government has used aircraft and satellites to photograph geographical distortions to aid disaster prevention.

The council also said that a potentially dangerous barrier lake formed near Chiufenerh Mountain by 1999's devastating 921 earthquake has been overflowing since Saturday.

On Tuesday, unmanned aircraft completed a photographic analysis of the lake.

The council's Soil and Water Conservation Bureau said that the volume of earth and gravel spilled had exceeded 25,600m3.

Officials said that the pictures showed that it remained stable and that there was no immediate danger.

Meanwhile, the bureau yesterday lifted landslide and mudflow warnings issued to 81 townships nationwide.

"But we must still bear in mind that the soil in the disaster zone has been saturated. The possibility of heavy rain triggering another disaster cannot be ruled out," bureau director-general Wu Huei-long (吳輝龍) said yesterday.


ROCSAT-2, the nation's second satellite, launched on May 21, has been taking pictures of the disaster zone since Saturday.

The black-and-white pictures show dramatic changes in the paths of rivers, including Chenyulan River and Choshui River in the center of the country, as well as Tsengwen River and Chishan River in the south.

In addition, images of badly hit townships such as Shuili and Puli in Nantou County were also recorded by ROCSAT-2.

Officials at the National Space Program Office yesterday said that the newly-taken pictures showed that many communities abutting rivers had been overwhelmed by rising water.

"We hope more researchers can take advantage of ROCSAT-2's recent output and come up with an effective disaster-prevention protocol," Cheng Kuo-ping (鄭國屏), manager of the office's program control department, told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Cheng said the satellite would continue taking pictures of the disaster zone over the next few days.

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