Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Two people died and one woman was rushed to hospital after being buried in a landslide caused by torrential rain in the mountainous areas in Nantou County Monday.
The three people, two of whom showed no vital signs when rescued, were laborers from neighboring Taichung, initial investigations showed.
A weather front caused heavy rain and flooding in southern and central Taiwan over the weekend, with the Central Weather Bureau forecasting more rain in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, Chaiyi and Nantou counties in the week ahead.
The government has set up a disaster response center to assist affected people, the Cabinet said.
Meanwhile, about 2,000 people were trapped in mountainous areas of Kaohsiung after several roads and bridges were blocked due to the flooding, with the most affected areas being the Namasia and Taoyuan districts. Local authorities said most of the trapped have been relocated to shelters.
More than 300 troops have been dispatched to Kaohsiung's Jiasian and Liouguei districts to help evacuate local residents and assist with relief work.
The Kaohsiung City government issued landslide alerts for the four districts earlier in the day, city officials said.
In Pingtung County, more than 1,000 residents in Sandimen and Laiyi townships have been evacuated as a result of heavy flooding in the county, which has saw more than 900 millimeters of rainfall over the weekend.
The Directorate General of Highways has closed 12 highways in central and southern parts of Taiwan, including those passing through Sinyi Township in Nantou County and Wutai Township in Pingtung County, and has issued a warning against traveling via mountainous highways.
Highways traveling through several mountainous tourist spots and recreation areas in the mountains have also been closed, including a section of Provincial Highway No. 18, which connects Chiayi City to Alishan. The Alishan National Scenic Area and the Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area in Nantou County have been closed due to the heavy rain, fallen rocks and damaged roads leading to the scenic areas.
Agriculture damages in the south amounted to NT$7.4 million (US$247,414) over the weekend, according to the Council of Agriculture, with Chiayi City and Pingtung County being the worst hit.
(By Nancy Sha, Wang Shu-fen, Kuo Chu-chen, Huang Kuo-fang, Lin
Heng-li, Yang Su-min, Hsieh Chia-chen and Scully Hsiao)