Sunday, August 09, 2009

Typhoon wreaks havoc in southern Taiwan =UPDATED=

Apple Daily pic of flooding in Pingtung county.

Typhoon Morakat has absolutely devastated the southern part of Taiwan with torrential rain and floods.

David on Formosa has description, pics, and links. Taimaili in Taitung, south of Taitung city, had both its rail line and highway link washed away. David says that you should follow @taiwanfloods or search hashtag #taiwanfloods for latest news from southern Taiwan. It's all in Chinese though.

Taipei Times reports:
At 9pm yesterday, Pingtung County’s Wei Liao Mountain (尾寮山) topped the nation with 2,051mm of rainfall since Thursday, the CWB said. Other areas in the county such as Chiatung (佳冬) and Wen-feng (塭豐) saw floods that reached two stories deep.

TV footage showed torrential downpours had submerged houses and streets in the county, cutting off electricity and phone services.

“The flood started this morning and the water is more than two stories high in most places,” said a policeman from Chiatung Township, one of the worst-hit areas in Pingtung. It is home to 10,000 people
The Taipei Times also published this awesome photo of water being released from Shihmen Reservoir after there were fears early last week of water rationing.

Report on Taimali damage (Youtube, Chinese). Photos of it here.
Hotel Collapse in Chihben, Taitung. News reports say over 100 were trapped inside. UDN link. The mess in Pingtung, with video in Chinese. The Pingtung County government is putting out a desperate call for boats and rubber rafts.

More links as I get 'em. Commentary on the underlying political causes -- the lack of will to shut down illegal groundwater pumping, the diversion of tax dollars to Taipei, so that Pingtung and Taitung are starved to pay for the capital's plush lifestyle, the corruption in public construction funding, illegal gravel digging, cronyism -- will come later. High time the government went after the real crooks in Taiwan.

UPDATES:
1. Bloomberg report: almost a million evacuated in southern China, tens of thousands without power in Taiwan.

2. Friend wrote to say that her parents' town of Donggang is now accessible only by boat.

3. Video of Situation in Jiasian (甲仙) Kaohsiung county.

4. Rainfall map of central Taiwan for last 1,3, and 6 hours, respectively. Rain appears to have moved out of southern Taiwan. Same map for the south. Updated every hour. Courtesy of my man A-gu.

5. Video Shot from the HSR on the Tainan-Chiayi run.

6. AFP on the worst flooding in 50 years. Wholesale vegetable prices jumped 50% yesterday in anticipation of Morakot's assault on our agriculture.

7. The CNN video site has 3 minutes of video.

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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

So DPP was in power for eight long years, you are still blaming KMT for the same problems that Taiwanese voted DPP to fix. What was the point of voting DPP into power when CSB and his cronies were just busy taking potical "contributions" and laudering money overseas, yet CSB claimed that he couldn't do squad for Taiwan independence or for fixing what was supposedly broken/corrupt under KMT rule.

All politicians are useless, no matter what their color or political "claims" are. You should call out DPP's failures as well as KMT's. There is no future for Taiwan if both parties are the same when you rip away their blue/green covers.

Genie said...

I have a friend in Sijhih City, any idea if they have power in that area? I have emailed her a couple of times but haven't received a response. My understanding is that the worst of the damage is in southern Taiwan.

Michael Turton said...

Anon:

More links as I get 'em. Commentary on the underlying political causes -- the lack of will to shut down illegal groundwater pumping, the diversion of tax dollars to Taipei, so that Pingtung and Taitung are starved to pay for the capital's plush lifestyle, the corruption in public construction funding, illegal gravel digging, cronyism -- will come later. High time the government went after the real crooks in Taiwan.

...the term 'KMT' is nowhere in evidence here. Both parties are implicated.

All politicians ARE NOT useless. They are all useful to someone, or they wouldn't be elected. The trick is to make sure they are useful to the public. The situation won't change until locals stand up and change they way they think about politics.

Anonymous said...

The headlines that it is the worst in 50 years seems to be wrong too. I read in the paper that it was 1000mm in one day 50 years ago. This time, it was three straight days of rain, with double to three times that amount. That's way worse. So the immediate response by the current administration is clearly broken. And the lack of long-term planning of water resources is also a huge problem.

But the poor accuracy of th forecasts and the extremeness of the rain make this a big natural disaster. After this passes, and those that need immediate relief have gotten it, we can go back and start figuring out responsible parties.

(But if you can't wait... the legislative yuan has always been controlled by the KMT and they for a long-time refused to pass a bill for water works that should've been completed in time for last year's typhoon. You should also check out very Blue Lee Hong-yuan's article in UDN today and his comments about the central administration's response).

Robert R. said...

But the poor accuracy of the forecasts

I don't know about the rain forecasts, but typhoon tracks are hard to predict. Thursday evening, CNN had a map with 4 different predicted tracks. The CWB had the most southern track, going directly through Taipei. The rest were north of there.

And at least in Taipei, there was a heck of a lot (relatively) of rainfall before the main mass of the typhoon even hit land.

weather is hard. Normally it's just an irritant, but times like these when you really notice it.

Mad Minerva said...

OMG! My dad's in Pingtung right now for a cousin's funeral. Thanks for the news links.

Anonymous said...

Look forward to your explanation of how pumping too much ground water causes more severe flooding

Michael Turton said...

Look forward to your explanation of how pumping too much ground water causes more severe flooding

Pumping leads to subsidence. When combined with other things, like concreting in river banks....

Carlos said...

Some areas have dropped approximately 3 meters… thereby providing a basin for floodwater to go.
Excessive pumping also reduces the flow in streams and rivers, which leads to dry and easily eroded river banks.

Aquaculture, e.g. freshwater eel farming, is a big part of the problem. I’m sure it can done responsibly, but why do things the hard way...?

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Didn't mean to sound too glib.

taiwanvine said...

Here's a Wikipedia article on how pumping out all that groundwater can cause problems:

Groundwater-related_subsidence

I imagine between sinking land and the ground becoming non-porous, there's plenty of bad for when the big rains come. Cheers.

rajen nair said...

I am a journalist from India and am looking for a Taiwanese for an interview on Typhoon moraket. Can anyone help me if so pls contact at-
rajennair29@yahoo.com
www.rajennair.com

vin said...

"The situation won't change until locals stand up and change they way they think about politics."

Loacals, from what I can tell, are currently thinking less about politics than at any time during my many years here. My hope is that this is somehow a good thing -- that things have to get worse before they can get better -- and that this apathy and anomie are a precursor to a new, more searching, less-conditioned, more independent-minded, and more intelligent approach to politics.

Anonymous said...

KMT's cold reponses to typhoon disaster made me realize these Chinese didn't care about Taiwanese. Ma is a Chinese and never related himself to Taiwan and Taiwanese.

In a sharp contrast, Taiwanese DPP's quick reponse to Taiwan's earthqueake a few years ago shows geniue care.