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Megi kills seven in Taiwan
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 10 - 2010

Rescue workers evacuate people on Taiwan's Highway No. 9, which connects Suao, Ilan County, and Hualien, Hualien County, after it was damaged by the landslides caused by Typhoon Megi, northern Taiwan Saturday. (Reuters)
TAIPEI: Record rains from a powerful typhoon caused massive mud- and rockslides in Taiwan that buried a temple and trapped vehicles on a highway, where one bus carrying 19 Chinese tourists was missing Friday.
The mudslide at the temple killed seven people, and overall, 25 people were missing in Taiwan as Typhoon Megi swept toward southern China, where landfall was expected late Friday or Saturday. The storm earlier killed 26 people and damaged homes and crops in the Philippines.
Megi dumped a record 45 inches of rain in Taiwan's Ilan county over 48 hours. It had winds of 145 kph and was about 440 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong Friday evening, the Hong Kong Observatory said.
Seven people were killed at the White Cloud Temple in Suao city along the eastern coast when a mudslide buried the building, Taiwanese cable TV stations reported. Rescuers were using bulldozers to try to dig out two other people, Ilan county chief Lin Tsong-hsien said.
Two buses carrying Chinese tourists were on a 10-kilometer stretch of a coastal highway in Ilan that was hit by at least seven rockslides Thursday night, Premier Wu Den-yih said. Nineteen people on one bus were rescued – five with light to moderate injuries – but the Taiwanese driver and the Chinese tour guide were still missing, Wu said.
There had been no contact with the driver, tour guide and 19 tourists aboard the other bus, he said.
TV news reported a 500-yard stretch of the highway had collapsed. The rockslides trapped about 30 vans, buses and cars, officials said.
Air force helicopters were searching for the missing bus and some two dozen other travelers cut off by the rockslides, Interior Minister Chiang Yi-hua said. Those travelers were not in any immediate danger, officials said.
Megi was expected to hit China's southern Guangdong and Fujian provinces between Friday night and Saturday, meteorologists said.
In Fujian, authorities said 161,800 people were evacuated to safer places.
An official in Guangdong's Shantou city said fishermen were told to return to ports and authorities designated some 200 buildings in the city as emergency shelters. “This kind of strong typhoon is very rare for this season in Shantou. We are treating it as a ‘super strong typhoon' and making our preparations accordingly,” said a relief official who only gave his surname, Chen.
Hong Kong's main port remained partially shut, with leading port operator Hongkong International Terminals halting the processing of containers, the company said.
In Vietnam, the death toll from severe flooding in four central provinces climbed to 75, including 14 victims from a bus swept off a road by strong currents, with six passengers still missing, disaster officials said Friday.
Meanwhile, another storm, Cyclone Giri, was spinning in the Bay of Bengal and likely to make landfall Saturday in western Myanmar. The storm was expected to hit with winds of 120 kph and a tidal surge as high as 12 feet. Cyclone Nargis in 2008 killed 130,000 people in Myanmar.


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