Taiwan endures fiercest storm on planet

By Candace Kellner
Staff Writer  

Taiwan faced violent winds and torrential rain earlier this month after Typhoon Soudelor hit, killing five people before making its way to China as a tropical storm, according to CNN.  CNN reports that approximately 402 people were injured and five others remain missing.

A mother and her 8-year-old daughter were among the five Taiwanese victims. The girl’s twin sister, who is suspected to have been swept out to sea with the rest of her family, is still unaccounted for, according to the nation’s Central News Agency, CNN reported.

Soudelor became the strongest storm on the planet so far this year, with wind gusts reaching 180 mph. Storm chaser James Reynolds told CNN that fierce winds and blinding rain hit as the storm came ashore.

The result, he said, “was a lot of flying debris, a lot of tree damage and along the coastal areas, the waves had inundated the low-lying areas, damaging the roads in places as well as some vulnerable properties which were right by the coast.”

AP Photo
Heavy rain damages buildings in Taipei, Taiwan. AP Photo

Many communities suffered mudslides and flooding. Video footage of the storm shows rescue workers struggling to move through the surging, thigh-high waters.

More than four million homes across the island lost electricity. According to CNN, it was the biggest power outage seen on the island.

A weakened Soudelor headed to China the same night in the nation’s southern Fujian province with maximum sustained winds of only 52 mph and gusts up to 62 mph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

In preparation for the storm, nearly 185,000 people were relocated to safer areas in the Fujian province.

Torrential rains proved to be the greatest burden for the nation that has already seen heavy downpours for the past couple of months, CNN reported.

In Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Soudelor saturated the land which resulted in disrupted water and electricity.

Mudslides resulted in the death of 14 people in the eastern Chinese cities of Wenzhou and Lishui, according to CNN.

The affected Pacific nations have since received aid from the Red Cross and other organizations.

The government of Guam has donated thousands of dollars to the victims of Typhoon Soudelor. In the midst of disaster, the Pacific region has opened up their hearts and wallets to help those in need.