Six people died in floods that submerged central and southern Taiwan after a tropical depression passed over the area on Aug. 23 and 24.
The heavy rains caused the evacuation of thousands. Some areas received over three feet of rain. Three of the six people died in the city of Kaohsiung after scaffolding fell. Altogether almost 100 people were injured in the flooding, Channel NewsAsia reported.
Over 6,000 people were evacuated, and 1,100 remain in shelters.
The storm has already moved northwest and away from Taiwan, but flood waters have yet to recede.
Taiwan’s weather bureau said precipitation like this is “extremely rare,” according to Channel NewsAsia. The effects of the depression drew comparison to some of the worst typhoon’s in Taiwan’s history, Taiwan News reported.
Tropical depressions form when “a low pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce a circular wind flow with maximum sustained winds below 39 mph,” according to NASA’s Precipitation Measurement Missions. When winds reach between 39 and 73 mph, it’s considered a tropical storm.
President Tsai Ing-wen visited some affected areas on Aug. 25 and 26, Focus Taiwan reported. She issued a statement that said the flooding doesn’t mean that Taiwan’s water management and flood-protection efforts were for nothing.
She said the protections already in place made the situation less severe. Authorities also issued water pumps to affected areas to reduce the inundation. Tsai’s second visit to Chiayi County, on Aug. 26, was to look at the effectiveness of additional pumps, according to Focus Taiwan.
The premier of Taiwan promised that households that experienced the flooding would receive $652 from the government. Some could qualify for tax deductions and loan interest relief, for people seeking finances to rebuild homes, Taiwan News reported.
Premier Lai Ching-te also stated that the government would continue to work on water management so as to prevent of future disaster of this kind.
“I shoulder all the responsibility, any blame should be directed at me,” said Lai, while visiting Chiayi County after the rainfall, via Taiwan News.
He also urged Taiwan’s politicians in opposing political parties to unite in the recovery effort.
A weather alert by the Central Weather Bureau has already been issued for more torrential rains expected to hit parts of southern and central Taiwan, from Aug. 26 through Aug. 29. Other areas of Taiwan may also experience heavy rains. The weather bureau warned that it could mean landslides and falling rocks in mountainous areas, and flooding in low-lying areas, Focus Taiwan reported.
In certain areas, efforts to clean up poultry farms and eliminate the spread of disease from animal carcasses were underway. About 1.4 million chickens, 500,000 ducks, 200,000 geese, and 7,000 pigs were reported to have died from the flooding.
Total losses of livestock reached about $6 million.
Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture said damage to agriculture reached about $18.3 million by Aug. 26, Focus Taiwan reported.
Chiayi County was the most affected by the rains, and agricultural losses reached about $13.1 million, 71 percent of the total losses.
About 6,916 acres of farmland were flooded. Pumpkin, gourd, tomato, peanuts, watermelon, and corn were the most devastated crops.
Milkfish, tilapia, barramundi, eel, and grouper were the most affected fish species. The fishing industry took a total of over $10.2 million in losses.