Emergency supplies flown into communities left isolated after disaster-level rain

Taiwan’s National Airborne Service Corps dispatched a Black Hawk helicopter to fly emergency supplies to mountain communities left isolated after days of torrential rain washed away bridges, and left roads blocked by landslides, Sunday August 8.

The NASC helicopter carried 300 kilograms of supplies, and four Taipower personnel into Kaohsiung City’s Taoyuan District, which was inundated by an amount of rain not seen since the disastrous Typhoon Morakot hit the area in 2009.

A surge of water and debris washed away Minbaklu Bridge in Taoyuan District Saturday, August 7, cutting off access to the mountain villages of Meishan, Lavulang, and Fuhsing, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

Although residents had enough food to last an estimated two weeks, some essential supplies, including baby formula was running low. One young mother said she only had enough infant formula for around two days, United Daily News reported Sunday.

According to the Central Disaster Response Center, 4,403 people have been evacuated from affected areas, with 688 housed in emergency accommodation centers. A total of around 91,850 households have been left without power.

washed out road in Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung City
Washed out road in Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung City.

The Central Weather Bureau said that accumulated rainfall in Kaohsiung is the highest seen since Typhoon Morakot struck the same area 12 years ago to the day (August 8, 2009). Morakot was the deadliest typhoon to impact Taiwan in recorded history, causing catastrophic damage that left 673 dead and 26 missing.

Heavy rain began falling in southern and central regions of Taiwan more than one week ago due to a southwest monsoonal airstream some meteorologists described as “planetary scale.” The monsoonal rain was compounded by the development of Tropical Storm Lupit, which swept by before weakening into a tropical depression that passed over the northern end of the island Friday night and Saturday.

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