Heavy rain triggers landslides in Taiwan

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, August 22, 2013
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Typhoon Trami struck heavily populated northern Taiwan yesterday, prompting schools and offices to close down as heavy rain triggered landslides and other disruptions.

At 5:30pm, the island’s weather bureau said the center of the storm was located offshore, 100 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Taipei, packing sustained winds of 108kph with gusts of up to 137kph.

It was expected to complete its passage of the island’s northern coast by midnight, heading westward on a direct course toward Fujian Province.

The storm had dumped 300 millimeters of rain on Taipei by nightfall yesterday, and close to 500mm in mountainous areas of northwestern Taiwan.

With heavy rains expected to continue through most of Thursday, those totals could easily double.

Amid the downpour, a landslide closed the only road to a remote mountain community in Hsinchu county, trapping 70 residents, though authorities said no one was in danger.

Other landslides were reported north of Taipei and in the island’s center.

Late Tuesday government officials ordered schools and offices in Taipei and in some surrounding regions to close because of safety concerns. They also suspended service on the island’s high speed rail system, which links Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung.

Due to strong winds and heavy rains, the Taoyuan airport in the north cancelled 195 international flights, according to the transport authorities.

All flights and ferries between Taiwan and offshore islands were terminated.

Taiwan’s Fire Agency reported only one injury from the storm, a 33-year-old woman whose motorbike flipped over after hitting a pothole in the Taipei district of Neihu.

Soldiers have evacuated more than 1,000 residents from an outlying island believed to be threatened by the storm, as well as 200 residents from the mountain community of Alishan, near Taiwan’s geographical center.

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