As flooding overwhelmed towns and rural areas in the south, the death toll from four days of torrential rains rose to five, rescue officials said yesterday.
Officials at the Emergency Response Center counted three more victims late Monday, including a 15-year-old boy who was swept off his bicycle in Tainan County.
Other victims were a 73-year-old man buried by landslides in Pingtung County, and a 34-year-old Pingtung resident who died of electrocution after water swept through his home, center officials said.
On Sunday, a 65-year-old woman was killed when a landslide triggered by rains buried her house in Tainan County, and a 24-year-old motorist was swept away by floods in Kaohsiung County, the officials said.
Many residential areas in the south have been submerged in flood waters since Saturday. Several towns in Pingtung County have registered up to 100cm of rain over the past four days, the Central Weather Bureau said.
The heavy rains also wreaked havoc on traffic, with landslides cutting off roads near Alishan, officials said.
Television stations showed footage of rescue workers wading through swollen rivers, and people cleaning up their homes. Ferry services between southern Taiwan and the small island of Hsiao Liuchiu resumed after a three-day hiatus, allowing hundreds of tourists to return to China.
The Central Weather Bureau said torrential rains would continue to batter the south at least until the weekend, before expanding to central Taiwan.
The Ministry of National Defense sent 300 troops and seven armored personnel carriers to help with flood relief work in Pingtung County yesterday.
Some 200 officers and enlisted men assisted in cleaning up flooded streets in Hsinyuan village, one of the areas hit hardest by flash floods brought by heavy rains over the past few days.
The armored personnel carriers assisted in evacuating stranded residents to temporary shelters in addition to transporting relief goods, including bread, boxed lunches, mineral water and sleeping bags.
An additional 100 service members were mobilized to help in clearing away mud and rocks in the county's mountainous Machia village, which was struck by heavy mudslides caused by torrential rains.
As intermittent rains continue to batter the county, water levels in the Kaoping River remain unstable. Weather forecasters have urged residents in low-lying areas to remain on alert.
Meanwhile, agricultural losses have reached NT$296.6 million (US$9.44 million), official statistics showed yesterday.
Tainan City sustained the largest agricultural damage, with every farmer and fishery operator qualifying for government cash aid, Council of Agriculture officials said.
Meanwhile, farmers who grow melons, scallions and leafy vegetables in Kaohsiung County, as well as those who grow green beans in Tainan County are all qualified to apply for government relief, low-interest loans, they said.
According to the council's statistics,the country saw a total of NT$112.54 million in crop losses,while 2,791 hectares of fields have been flooded as a result of heavy rainfall,with 26 percent of the fields having their crops completely destroyed.
In terms of fishery production,there was NT$174.4 million in losses,mostly reported from fish ponds in Tainan City and Pingtung County, the tallies showed.
Torrential rains have also caused NT$450,000 worth of facility damage in the fishery sector, as well as NT$9.1 million in livestock losses, according to the council.
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