After Typhoon Soudelor; What's More Important than Crooked Mailboxes?

After Typhoon Soudelor; What's More Important than Crooked Mailboxes?
Photo Credit: 黃蓉

What you need to know

The heavy rain and strong winds in Taipei City broke the record of damaged trees and turned the city into a disaster area. At least 4,000 trees in parks and on the roadside snapped or fell down.

Typhoon Soudelor swept across Taiwan, filling the streets with disaster. Many trees collapsed and two Chunghua Post mailboxes were bent sideways due to the strong winds and became a roadside attraction for the media. Chunghwa Post says that if the rain didn’t seep into the mailboxes and the boxes aren’t affecting the safety of others, they will remain as they are.

But apart from the mailboxes, what other calamities are worthy of further review?

The worst blackout case in Taiwan history; 400,000 Taiwanese households out of power

Apple Daily reports, according to statistics from the Taiwan Power Company, Typhoon Soudelor has led to the worst power outage in Taiwanese history. At 10 pm on August 8, 4,000,000 households were experiencing blackout, which is 1.4 times more than the power cut of 270,000,000 during the Typhoon Herb in 1996.

The Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) says it had already mobilized 4,000 staff members to fix the power lines, but most electric poles had broke down, trees had collapsed on the power lines and mountain roads were cut off. The company sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience.

Liberty Times reports, when the Taipower staff went to make repairs in Yulin County, people started showing their dissatisfaction, saying the power outage was taking too long. Out of anger they started smashing the company truck windows with baseball bats. They also assaulted two engineers. The two men reluctantly finished the repairs and went to report the assault to the police after finishing repairs in another town.

280,000 households without water and people scared of drinking muddy water

UDN reports, when Soudelor hit Taiwan, it caused the river water in the north and south of the country to rise sharply. On August 8, the Water Resources Agency said that many creeks and the Tamsui river had already raised an alert. The situation was very dangerous. The water in the Xindian and Chungho area rose to four times higher than before the typhoon. There were also local mudslide hazards.

Vice President of the Taiwan Water Corporation, Wang Guo-jian, says 28,000 households didn’t have water on August 8. The Feitsui Reservoir was unable to provide help because the turbidity was too high.

Apple Daily reports, the turbidity of the water in Xindian continued to soar significantly and resulted in an increase of muddy water at the Feitsui Reservoir. The water purification plants were unable to filter the water in time, which made the tap water dirty. A lot of people were afraid of drinking it and went to supermarkets to buy drinking water.

The Taipei Water Department says the Banxin water processing plant was trying to supply water. The department says to boil the tap water before drinking just to be on the safe side.

Meteorological expert Li Dang-cheng says, he has never seen anything like this in his 68 years living in Taipei. What’s the matter with the Taipei City Government to have people using this kind of water?

The strongest winds in the last 19 years led to over 4,000 trees collapsing

Apple Daily reports, according to the Central Weather Bureau, the winds reached force 17 on the Beaufort scale in Yilan and the wind speed was the second highest in history. The strong winds were the strongest since Typhoon Herb in 1996.

In addition, Soudelor caused waves as high as 17.1 meters in Xinbei City, and were also the recorded as the highest waves in history.

UDN reports the heavy rain and strong winds in Taipei City broke the record of damaged trees and turned the city into a disaster area. At least 4,000 trees in parks and on the roadside snapped or fell down. The entire roadside of Tianmu was covered in a sea of trees.

Zhang Yu-hui, director of the Taipei City Government Public Works Department Parks and Street Light office, says that Soudelor might be the most destructive typhoon in the last 10 years, defeating Typhoon Sulik in 2013. That year, Sulik damaged 3,069 roadside trees and Soudelor has uprooted 1,500. The estimated damaged trees exceed 4,000.

UDN reports, Wang Sheng-yang, professor at the Forestry and Resource Conservation Department at National Chung Hsing University, says that the strong winds made the trees fall down, but most of the trees that fell over were infected or rotten. They may look fine on the outside, but the tree trunks already had holes in them and were actually very fragile. Wang also recommends planting trees that originated on the island as roadside trees.

Chen Hong-jie, chief executive of the Friends of Da’an Forest Park Foundation, says the holes in which the trees were planted are too shallow. They were only one meter in width and one meter in depth and all corners were filled with cement. This causes shallow root development and the roots seemed to be corroded, making the trees very unbalanced. Strong winds aren’t even needed for the trees to collapse. A slight touch will do the job.

Singapore, Germany and Japan have all stopped using holes to plant single trees and have started to open the ground under roadside trees, so that roots can be connected. This creates more space for the trees to breathe and makes the roots longer, stronger and more capable of enduring strong winds.

Translated by Sarah Grasdijk
Edited by Olivia Yang

Apple Daily
Apple Daily
Apple Daily
Apple Daily
Apple Daily
Liberty Times