POSTED: 4:07 a.m. HST, Aug 29, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 5:48 a.m. HST, Aug 29, 2011
TAIPEI, Taiwan >> A typhoon that flooded homes, roads and farmland in Taiwan with more than 20 inches of rain left the island Monday and headed to southeastern China.
Typhoon Nanmadol stayed over Taiwan for only a few hours and was weaker than when it pummeled the Philippines, where at least 16 people died and another eight were missing.
One death in Taiwan was attributed to the storm — a motorcyclist hit by debris — and disruption to everyday life was extensive.
Some 30,000 households in southern and eastern Taiwan lost power, 8,000 people were evacuated and scores of roads and bridges were closed due to the heavy rain. Offices and schools were closed in the southeast as well as in the capital, Taipei, which escaped the brunt of the storm.
In a southwestern county, civil defense crews used small boats to rescue people from communities inundated by flash flooding. Dozens of homes were flooded. CTI cable news station footage showed the aftermath of landslides in Pingtung township and several homes partially submerged by water.
Pingtung is just to the south of the mountainous regions where more than 500 people died two years ago in mudslides spawned by torrential rains associated with Typhoon Morakot, the most devastating storm to hit the island in half a century.
A slow government response to that catastrophe prompted a fusillade of criticism aimed at President Ma Ying-jeou, who is up for re-election this January.
After Morakot, Ma said he was reorienting the major mission of the island's armed forces toward disaster relief and away from defending against a possible Chinese invasion — the two sides split amid civil war in 1949.
The change was evident over the weekend, as the military dispatched troops and rescue equipment to vulnerable areas, unlike during Morakot.
The typhoon, slow-moving with an enormous cloud band, drenched the northern Philippines for days before pummeling it with fierce winds. Landslides, flooding and collapsed walls caused many of the casualties, officials there said.