Typhoon Morakot (颱風莫拉克) hit Taiwan on Friday and Saturday bringing torrential rains that caused serious flooding in the south of Taiwan. It rained throughout most of the day in Taipei on Friday and there were some strong gusts of wind, but no serious damage in the north.
Media outlets in Taiwan have been reporting the situation in the south as the worst flooding in 50 years. 2,000 millimetres of rain has fallen in parts of Pingdong County. The rainfall charts from the Central Weather Bureau show the rainfall in Taiwan from 6-8 August. Although the typhoon’s intensity has weakened it will continue to bring more rain today and tomorrow.
Taitung County also seems to have suffered some terrible damage. CNA reports that 20 houses were washed into the sea. Freddy Lim tweeted, “Panai sent some news. Morakot brought some torrential rains, Taitung has suffered a terrible disaster. Half of Kimbo Hu’s home village was washed away. Tomorrow’s music festival will be used for fundraising.” (巴奈傳來消息，莫拉克豪雨襲擊，台東災情慘重，胡德夫的家鄉嘉蘭村流掉一半，明天東海岸音樂節將為賑災募款！) The Taipei Times reports that a 600 metre section of the Southern Link railway and freeway was washed away in Taimali (太麻里), Taidong County.
Tainan City Councillor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) put out a request for help on Plurk (via cyrixhero). Wang plurked, “Plurk Tainan Disaster Centre: For the efficiency of continuing disaster relief efforts I request Plurk friends who have the ability to provide any kind of assistance to register for medical work, water pumping, goods and materials, small boats, labor, etc. After tomorrow there will be many things to do!” (噗上台南救災中心:為了後續的救事工更有效率,懇請噗上好友,有能力提供何種協助的和時間,集中到此登錄,如醫療,抽水馬達,物資,船艇,重機具,人力…等,明天過後,會有很多事要做!) Billy Pan provides a link to a Google Map showing the sites of the disaster and places where volunteers and assistance are required.
The only good news is that the typhoon has filled all of Taiwan’s reservoirs to capacity. It arrived at a time when water levels in many of Taiwan’s reservoirs had reached critically low levels. Earlier this year I wrote an article about how changing rainfall patterns in Taiwan due to climate change create serious problems for maintaining Taiwan’s water supply. Although the typhoon may have averted the problem in the short-term, it is an issue that won’t go away. However, at the moment everyone should be focused on the disaster relief efforts.