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Typhoon Fanapi inflicts heavy damage on Taiwan

2010/09/20 16:57:05

Kaohsiung, Sept. 20 (CNA) Typhoon Fanapi battered Taiwan Sunday,causing flooding in southern Taiwan and disrupting transportation andpower in other parts of the country, before heading toward China.

The eye of Fanapi made landfall in Hualien County, eastern Taiwanat 8:40 a.m. Sunday, knocking out power, tearing down trees and roadsigns, and flattening crops.

According to the Hualien County government, the storm destroyedbanana, tea, corn, rice and pineapple crops on some 2,046 hectares offarmland, which resulted in agricultural losses of about NT$130million.

In southern Taiwan, the wind damage was not that great but thearea suffered severe flooding as the storm dumped about 600millimeters (mm) of rain on that region.

"Several districts in Kaohsiung County, including Gangshan,recorded the highest volume of rainfall in history Sunday, " ChiFeng-hsiung, a Kaohsiung City government official, said Monday.

The typhoon caused flooding in 77 boroughs in the southern city,wrecking the personal property of residents in the area, according toKaohsiung City government statistics.

Kaohsiung residents blamed the city's sewage and drainage system,which they said was not designed to handle the volume of rain broughtby Fanapi.

The system was designed for the drainage of a maximum of 321 mmof accumulated rainfall over a 24-hour period. However, on Sunday,the 24-hour accumulated rainfall in several areas of Kaohsiung Cityand County exceeded 576 mm.

Forecasters on Sunday revised their single-day rainfall estimatesfrom 700 mm to 1400 mm for the mountainous areas in Kaohsiung andPingtung counties.

The bureau reported that at 10 p.m. Sunday, the accumulatedrainfall over the last 24 hours in Majia township in Pingtung Countyhad reached 1,006 mm and was rising.

As part of its post-disaster operations, the Kaohsiung Citygovernment on Monday began deploying water pumps and disinfecting theflooded areas. It has mobilized 2,000 workers and 500 vehicles andpieces of heavy equipment to clean up the city.

Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu said a natural disaster fund willbe activated if necessary.

Throughout the rest of the country, there were power cuts anddisruption of land, sea and air transportation on Sunday.

Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) said Monday that the serviceon the West Coast Trunk Line between Tainan and Kaohsiung and theSouth Link Line which was suspended Sunday could not yet be resumed.

However, the East Coast Trunk Line, the Neiwan Line and the JijiLine will resume normal operations, the TRA said.

Meanwhile, a section of the South Link Line in Taimali in TaitungCounty that had to be closed during the storm because the roadfoundation was washed out by overflowing rivers will not be reopenedto regular traffic for another 20 days, authorities said.

The South Link Highway, which was closed because of floodingSunday, was reopened Monday to large vehicles only.

The torrential rain also triggered landslides that blockedmountain roads in the Alishan area.

The only highway to Alishan in Chiayi County was blocked Sundayby falling rocks and mudslides but was partially reopened to trafficMonday. However, the sections of highway at the 71 km and 72 kmmarkers were open only to one-way traffic.

Meanwhile, sea transportation at Fugang Harbor in Taitung wascanceled because of tons of driftwood that had washed into theharbor.

Around the country, some 314,000 households had lost electricityby noon Sunday as the storm lashed the island. But Taiwan PowerCompany deployed 2,000 technicians to work on the problem and bySunday evening, power had been restored to 140,000 homes.

In the wake of the storm, the supply of vegetables remainednormal in Taipei, the Council of Agriculture (COA) reported Monday.

A total of 2,150 tons of vegetables were sold at the Taipei CityFruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market Sunday, an increase of 22percent over Saturday, the COA said.

The vegetables were sold at an average price of NT$28.7 perkilogram Sunday, a 14 percent drop from the previous day, the COAsaid.

The market was closed Monday.

(By Wang Shwu-fen, Wang Su-fen, Tyson Lu, Huang Kuo-fan, and Y.L.
Kao) ENDITEM/ pc