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Tropical Storm Talim leaves one dead, one injured

2012/06/21 21:47:36

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) One person was reported killed and one injured during the passage of Tropical Storm Talim, which brought rain and strong winds to Taiwan over the past two days.

A sailor surnamed Hsieh drowned after he slipped off a dock as the storm lashed Kaohsiung City on Wednesday.

In Dapu Township in Chaiyi County, a 52-year-old man surnamed Ho suffered face and abdominal injuries when a road on which he was driving collapsed due to heavy rain also on Wednesday.

However, Taiwan on Thursday downgraded its emergency response to the storm as it moved away from the island.

The response level has been dropped from first to second on the three-tier scale, said Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan, who heads the National Disaster Prevention and Protection Commission.

The number of landslide alerts, which determine whether residents in specific areas should be evacuated, was also lowered as the storm tracked northeast and was downgraded to a tropical depression.

Before noon Thursday, the number of red alerts for landslides had been reduced from 197 to 107 near rivers in Pintung County and Kaohsiung City, while yellow alerts were dropped to 171, according to the Council of Agriculture's (COA's) Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.

However, about 25 roads, 13 bridges and 11 sections on two provincial highways -- numbers one and five -- remained closed.

Lee said assessments will be made to determine whether it is safe for people to return to problem areas. He also said the commission will help farmers to apply for disaster assistance.

From June 10-14, Taiwan's agricultural industry incurred financial losses of NT$652.67 million (US$21.83 million) as a result of Tropical Storm Talim and an earlier weather system that soaked the country with torrential rain.

In Taipei City, the price of leafy vegetables has since risen in the markets by 80 percent.

Pak choi, for example, now costs NT$43.2 per kilogram, more than 5 times the price prior to June 8.

In an effort to stabilize vegetable prices, the COA released a total of 60 metric tonnes of frozen white cabbages and Chinese cabbage onto the market, which helped drop the average price of leafy vegetables from NT$27 per kilogram to NT$22.

Meanwhile, the problem of sandbag disposal is taxing the local governments in northern areas of the country.

The Taipei City government has asked the public not to randomly dispose of sandbags but rather seek help from district officials.

In Taoyuan, County Magistrate John Wu has advised the relevant local agencies to treat sandbags as disaster resources, while Taoyuan City Mayor Su Jia-min urged the central government to offer a plan for disposing of sandbags since it a nationwide problem.

(By Liu Chien-bang, Johnson Sun, Yang Su-min, Chiu Chun-chin and
C.J. Lin)