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Film about recovery of storm-devastated village released

2012/08/07 17:23:33

Taipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) A documentary about the reconstruction of a central Taiwan village that was devastated by Typhoon Morakot in 2009 has been released to coincide with the third anniversary of the storm.

The film follows the story of three tea farmers from Taihe Village in Chiayi County's Meishan Township and how the storm changed their lives.

When Morakot hit Taiwan on Aug. 8, 2009, it triggered the worst flooding in the country in 50 years. It also toppled dozens of houses and ruined vital infrastructure in the mountainous village of Taihe, where most residents relied on tea farming to make a living.

After the disaster, tea farmers Kuo Chun-nan, Chien Chia-wen and Yeh Jen-shou -- the main characters in the film -- began to rethink their relationship with nature.

Deeply affected by the devastation of the land, they chose to adopt greener farming practices. As part of their efforts to protect the environment and live in harmony with nature, they refused to use chemical fertilizers to grow their tea.

"We decided to just go the natural way," Kuo said at a press conference in Taipei Monday.

"Natural farming," which means no fertilizers, makes the tea plants stronger, said Chien, whose family has been in the tea-farming business for some 30 years.

Although natural farming methods result in a lower crop yield, it is the right thing to do, the three farmers said.

They also encouraged other farmers to plant trees on their farms to protect the environment.

Many people have negative impressions about tea farming because it usually means cutting down trees, which affects water conservation and also increases the chances of mudslides during heavy rains.

Morakot caused serious damage in Taihe Village but it also raised greater awareness of conservation, according to the filmmakers.

The reconstruction process involved more than structures and the land, said the film director Wu Ping-hai.

"What's more important is the reconstruction of values," he added.

(By Elaine Hou)