Wulai Township: A clearer picture of Typhoon Soudelor’s destructive power emerged Monday, as weather cleared, floodwaters receded, and rescue crews reached isolated communities around Wulai, south of Taipei City. The main tourist thoroughfare, Wulai’s ‘Old Street’ is covered by mud, rocks, and other debris. The bridge linking the old street to the main part of the village and its hot-springs resorts, has lost its safety rails. The narrow gauge coal train, constructed during the Japanese colonial period, and now used for tourist joyrides, has been washed out. At the other end of the rail line, another popular tourist street facing a scenic waterfall is buried meters deep, the mud and rocks piled up against the shops and restaurants.
The damage gets worse as one heads toward the interior villages. The road is completely washed-out in places, dropping precipitously to the riverbed far below. In other places landslides have buried the road, and residences as much as two stories high.
Soldiers and rescue workers began reaching isolated communities yesterday. Residents and tourists who were fit enough were led overland on a sometimes dangerous journey over landslides, and skirting narrow remnants of the road only a couple of feet wide to safety points where they could obtain food and water. Elderly residents were in some cases carried on the backs of rescue workers, and in other cases, flown out by helicopter. There are many places where it is impossible for a helicopter to land. Today food, and other essential supplies were being dropped to people who can not be reached overland.
This morning, Monday August 10, the Ministry of National Defense announced it had dispatched 2 helicopters and 36 Special Forces troops to assist New Taipei City’s specialist search and rescue team in the mountainous disaster area. This brings the total number of troops dispatched to the area to a total of 376, including military engineers and communications specialists. Landline and mobile telephone communications were completely knocked out when the typhoon struck Friday night August 7.
At the time of writing the nationwide death toll stands at 7, with 5 missing and over 400 injured.
Sources: Central News Agency, United Daily News, Liberty Times Network
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