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Six dead, four missing as Soudelor sweeps through Taiwan

2015/08/08 18:17:32

Xindian River.

Note: as of 8 a.m. Sunday, the Central Emergency Operation Center's website showed six deaths, four missing and 379 injured.

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Six people have been confirmed dead and four remain missing from the effects of Typhoon Soudelor, which barreled through Taiwan late Friday and Saturday morning and left heavy damage across the island.

The latest death reported by the Central Emergency Operation Center was a man surnamed Wang who swept away by a surging river in Xindian on Saturday morning and showed no signs of life when firefighters found him.

Two other people died because of the storm early Saturday.

One was a 58-year-old man surnamed Chien, who was pronounced dead after his motorcycle hit a fallen tree in Fengshan District in Kaohsiung at around 3 a.m. Saturday.

The other was the captain of a firefighting team surnamed Chen, who was hit from behind by a vehicle while clearing fallen tree branches at around 2 a.m. Another firefighter on the team was still in a coma after being hit.

A man in Suao in Yilan County died on Friday when he was hit in the head by a falling sign board, while an adult and a young girl were found dead after being swept to sea by a huge wave near Nanfangao in Yilan County on Thursday.

Another girl who was taken to sea by the wave's undertow remains missing.

Beyond the dead and the missing, another 101 people had been injured by falling trees and flying objects as of 3 p.m. Saturday.

Extreme torrential rain, defined as 500 millimeters of precipitation in a 24-hour period, was reported in all parts of Taiwan, except for the outlying Kinmen and Lienchiang counties and certain parts of the Taipei metropolitan area.

The heavy rains swelled rivers and caused flooding in 257 locations.

The Central Weather Bureau said Taiping Mountain (太平山) in Yilan County had accumulated 1,253 millimeters of rainfall from Thursday night at midnight to Saturday at 5 p.m., the most of anywhere in Taiwan and the equivalent of a half-year of rainfall under normal conditions.


[Taoyuan's Heliu community buried. Photo courtesy of the Taoyuan City Government]

Mudslides buried the Heliu aboriginal community (合流) in Fuhsing District in Taoyuan Saturday morning, but there were no casualties after 25 people from 15 households were evacuated on Friday in a precautionary move.

A total of 8,600 people in 15 cities and counties have been evacuated to safe places.

In Taipei, trees were uprooted around the city, with some of them damaging parked cars, and branches and leaves covered streets and sidewalks everywhere.

A cargo train parked at a station in Nanao in Yilan County was blown off the tracks and overturned, while in Kaohsiung, a 400-kilogram Guanyin statue at Lungshan Temple was blown from its pedestal by strong winds.

The typhoon also caused a bigger loss of power in Taiwan than any storm before it, leaving 3.22 million households without electricity at some point on Saturday.

As of 3 p.m., 1.68 million households were still without power, mainly in Changhua County, Taoyuan, New Taipei, Taichung, Yunlin County, Chiayi County and Kaohsiung.

The Central Weather Bureau warned that Taiwan and the outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu remained under the influence of the typhoon even though its eye exited Taiwan at 11 a.m.

Soudelor weakened after passing through Taiwan's Central Mountain Range, but central and southern Taiwan need to still watch out for strong winds and rains.

The typhoon caused massive disruptions of air and land transportation.

All of Saturday's 279 domestic flights in Taiwan were canceled, and 37 international flights were canceled and 68 international flights had been delayed as of noon.

Train service in western Taiwan as well as the North Link and South Link lines were closed all day Saturday, as was the Alishan Forest Railway line.

The suspension of high speed rail service was extended to 7 p.m. Saturday from the original 4 p.m. for safety reasons.

(By Chen Yi-wei, Lee Hsin-ying, Jay Chen and Lilian Wu)
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