Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Parma leaves one dead, floods eastern Taiwan

WARNINGS The Council of Agriculture issued landslide alerts in parts of Yilan and Hualien counties, while the Central Weather Bureau maintained its sea warning

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

Tropical Storm Parma moved away from Taiwan yesterday, leaving behind it flooding throughout Yilan County. One person died in the storm, while 6,831 people had been evacuated as of Monday night, the Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) reported yesterday.

A 43-year-old man living in Taitung County’s Beinan Township (卑南) drowned after falling into a flooded river, the center said.

Heavy rains from the storm triggered serious flooding in Yilan, submerging Yilan City and townships including Sansing (三星), Wujie (五結), Dongshan (冬山), Jhuangwei (壯圍), Datong (大同), Toucheng (頭城) and Luodong (羅東) in waters ranging between 10cm and 50cm deep.

The CEOC said that between dawn on Sunday and 9pm on Monday, Hansi (寒溪) in Dongshan Township received 1,121mm of rain, the highest figure in the country, followed by 1,046mm in Sansing and 949mm in Datong Township’s Nioudou Village (牛鬥).

Other areas affected by the storm were Hejhong (和中) in Hualien County’s Sioulin Township (秀林), which received 671mm of rain, and Rueifang (瑞芳) in Taipei County, which recorded rainfall of 444mm.

The Council of Agriculture issued landslide red alerts for 109 areas in Yilan and Hualien counties.

Parma weakened to a tropical storm from a typhoon after its periphery touched the southern tip of Taiwan on Monday.

The Central Weather Bureau reported that as of 5:30pm yesterday, the storm was centered 370km south of Eluanbi (鵝鑾鼻) at the southern tip of Taiwan and was moving south at a speed of 8kph.

The bureau maintained its sea warning after lifting its land warning the previous night.

Under the joint influence of the storm’s outer rim and the northeast monsoon, the weather bureau forecast Hualien County would see precipitation rise to between 800mm and 1,200mm in mountainous areas and between 500mm and 700mm in lowland areas.

The bureau warned residents in the northeast and east to remain on alert for torrential rain.

Wu Tai-cheng (吳泰成), the head of the Central Personnel Administration, said the minimum level of precipitation for declaring school and office closures had been set tentatively at 350mm per day.

“Basically, local city or county governments can announce class or office closures in the event that 350mm of precipitation is recorded in a single day in areas under their jurisdiction,” Wu said.

Wu was responding to a suggestion by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) that the Cabinet include precipitation as one of the factors for local governments to decide whether to close schools and offices.

Later, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) voiced support for Lu’s suggestion, adding that the risk of mudslides should be a factor in addition to wind strength.

Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) dismissed allegations by KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) that costly communication equipment has gone unused by the National Fire Agency (NFA) during this typhoon season.

Lo said the NFA spent NT$1.5 billion (US$46.6 million) between 2003 and 2005 in purchasing satellite communications, microwave communications, portable satellite communications and 12 communication vehicles, but the equipment went unused because of the lack of qualified staff to operate it.

The NFA sent 28 staffers to Italy and France to learn to operate the equipment, but only two are still at the NFA office, she said.

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