Three people died and 376 were injured as Typhoon Dujuan pummeled the nation with torrential rainfall and strong winds, the Central Emergency Operation Center said yesterday.
Typhoons come, typhoons go, trees crash down, but thank God for His great mercy!
And yet another major typhoon has delighted us with its presence ~ this one, Typhoon Dujuan, was combined with the super moon and the high tides of the lunar eclipse, to make it potentially more dangerous….
Taiwan’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was celebrated this weekend, with a 3-day holiday. When we packed up on Friday, we knew there was a tropical storm out there in the Pacific Ocean – but it was heading north to Japan. By Friday evening, it had changed direction more towards Taiwan, grown into a medium-sized typhoon, and flooding and major damage became a big possibility.
By yesterday, the medium-sized typhoon had become much bigger, and was forecast to be a direct hit, passing right over the island. And as yesterday was the 3rd day of the moon festival, also a typhoon day (official closures of school and work), so all roads and public transport were packed with people trying to get home. In the event, hundreds of flights, trains and buses were cancelled or delayed, but fortunately late last night, the local governments declared today to be a typhoon day too for northern and central Taiwan.
Typhoon Dujuan made landfall early evening yesterday on the east coast at Ilan, and left Taiwan from the central west coast, Changhua, at 1:00am this morning.
And we survived to tell the tale.
So here we are. Tuesday morning. Clearing up. Again!
Actually as typhoons go, this was not as bad as Typhoon Soudelor last month. Nowhere near as bad. More rain, but less wind. Don’t get me wrong, there was a huge amount of wind. But less than Typhoon Soudelor. My tin roof did not blow off. My bathroom ceiling did not blow in. My windows did rattle. But hey, I slept all night!
So early today at St. John’s University, there I was. Being blown in all directions by huge gusts of wind. But wearing my motorcycle helmet just in case. Camera at the ready.
Rescued a poor and very pathetic small dog who had fallen into the pool outside Advent Church and couldn’t get out and was wailing and whimpering. Actually that’s a lie – I tried to rescue it but it nearly bit my hand off, so the guard from the school gate came in his wellies and with his golf club….
A few large trees down, including a huge one outside Advent Church, which fortunately fell in the other direction onto the basketball court, taking the metal fence with it. Many small trees, motorcycles, signboards, ceiling boards and chairs down all over. But much less than the last time when I wandered round the campus after the last typhoon. This time, I even got into the campus of the junior-high school next door, which after the last typhoon was totally inaccessible due to fallen trees. Now the trees are completely cleared away, they have a beautiful new red roof to replace the one that blew off, and apart from a few small trees down, their school is looking good.
So a few photos from St. John’s University this morning. Very much the morning after the night before…..
And just to update you a little, the damage to St. John’s University caused by the last typhoon, Typhoon Soudelor, on August 8, is now estimated to cost about NT$ 3 million (US$ 100,000 or £66,000). Turned out that many of the higher-level classrooms on the 7th floor and above were flooded out and rooftop water tanks and other equipment all destroyed. This time, it’ll be less, but of course we’ll only know tomorrow when everyone gets back to work and classes resume….
Thank God for His great mercy once again upon us and upon Taiwan.
Until last weekend, these 2 postboxes were just ordinary postboxes on an ordinary street in Taipei City. But then a signboard crashed down on them during Typhoon Soudelor and changed them forever. They were bent over, but not broken. Tilting together in the same direction, 好可愛, so sweet, so lovely!
Now they have become icons, almost memorials to the typhoon, symbols of resilience and togetherness, and a place of pilgrimage for people from all walks of life, including artists, TV crews, pet dogs, and yes, even snakes… ha ha, it’s a great place to visit! I went there on Wednesday, and found it great fun ~ even though it was the middle of one of Taipei’s usual summer thunderstorms. So many people – and those snakes were something else!
A bit of light relief in the midst of such tragedy, bringing a smile to so many people!
A week after Typhoon Soudelor hit, and it now has its own Wikipedia page here. Current figures are that 8 people died and over 400 were injured in Taiwan as a result of the typhoon. The worst affected area was the hot spring area of Wu-Lai up in the mountains above Taipei where a major landslide has devastated the valley, washing away homes, hotels, roads, cars, trees and filling the beautiful hot springs with mud.
Throughout the country, damage to homes and businesses is immense, but at least mostly repairable. That’s what we’ve all been doing all week, fixing and mending and cleaning and mopping up. Even for people whose homes were OK, the amount of dust everywhere was incredible. Damage to trees and crops is more tragic in many ways, as it’ll take months and years to recover. Nationwide, the biggest damage is to the banana crops.
This morning was my first time to go out locally in the Sanzhi 三芝 area since the typhoon hit. Most noticeable are the downed banana trees and the unripe banana fruit lying on the ground, unable to be harvested. Interestingly many of the papaya trees have all lost their leaves but being stronger, have kept their fruits. Peanuts and other low-growing crops and fruits seem fine, and rice was harvested only last week….
And then there is the poor old bitter gourd. A few weeks ago, July 28 in fact, I posted a photo of a crop of bitter gourds I had seen growing locally. The post can be seen here. Bitter gourds usually grow from a frame, hanging down, and are often wrapped up to prevent damage. Today I noticed that the whole crop and the whole frame has been completely destroyed by the typhoon. I may not like bitter gourd – but this is so sad.
Before and after photos…
Please continue to pray for Taiwan as the country clears up after the typhoon. The army are doing much of the work in Wu-Lai, but even today there is a report of one of the soldiers being crushed to death while removing typhoon debris.
In the Taiwan Episcopal Church, we thank God that none of our churches sustained major damage and all our church members are safe. We have had many messages of support and assurances of prayer from all over the world. Thank you to you all!
Update on Typhoon Soudelor:
Well here we are, alive to tell the tale. That was definitely a storm to end all storms. What a night it was, and then what a day. 24 hours of non-stop torrential rains, almost apocalyptic winds that shook the walls and windows until it felt like the buildings were going to collapse or take off, debris crashing and banging and flying into everything, and a 10 hour power cut.
With no electricity, we had no TV News, and although we had mobile and 3G signals, the power soon ran out on the phone and power bank. So all we could do was sit and wait. And listen. And pray. With so much noise, screeching and crashing and banging it was inevitable that there was going to be much damage, injuries and possibly deaths.
There was. Much damage. And at least 6 deaths, 4 missing and almost 200 injured. Terrible. Terrible. Truly Terrible. Such tragedy.
Check out this article: Typhoon leaves six dead, 185 injured – Taipei Times.
Here in the far north of Taiwan, in Sanzhi 三芝 Town, it was rough. Felt almost like the end of the world was coming with those winds. And I live on the ground floor. Imagine what it was like for those 12 floors above me. Friends and neighbours were reporting in as very afraid. Afraid that the windows would blow in. Afraid trees would go down on their houses. Afraid for family and friends.
And yesterday was Father’s Day in Taiwan. So named because the date 8/8 is pronounced ba-ba in Chinese. At lunchtime yesterday there was a moment of calm, and out I went into the town. The only place with electricity was the bread and cake shop. They were doing a roaring trade in Father’s Day cakes. All sold out.
And then back home to wait out Typhoon Soudelor Part 2. By then the typhoon had already left Taiwan, but it wasn’t over yet ~ this was the sting in its tail.
The rains eased off. But the winds were worse. Gusts so strong that everything that hadn’t already blown off in the morning stood no chance now.
By this morning all was calm. Off I went to St John’s University to check out the damage. Loads of trees down, especially the banyans. Tons of debris – chairs, ceiling boards and signposts in the most unlikely places. And the wall and fence of the swimming pool badly damaged.
Actually it could have been a lot worse. A lot lot worse. But then, after so many years of typhoons, summer after summer, it’s kinda surprising that any tree remains standing upright in this part of the world. Still there are thousands upon thousands that have fallen down throughout the country during this typhoon. The road from here to St. John’s University is 5 miles, of, well, fallen trees, fallen signs and fallen everything. And if they’ve not actually fallen, they’re leaning over onto the road.
And my own house? Well, the back window used to have a sloping roof of aluminum sheeting nailed onto some wood supports to keep the sun and rain off. That flew off in the typhoon. Then the bathroom ceiling fell in. Quite an achievement really considering the bathroom doesn’t even have a window. But above the ceiling is a cavity where the wind gets in, and it brought the whole lot down. End result, the noise coming from the bathroom as the wind whooshed around inside was incredible, and the strength of the wind was so powerful that I couldn’t push open the door until it had all calmed down….
So there you have it. Today is Sunday and off we all went to Advent Church this morning, grateful to God for his mercy and that we all survived, many with tales to tell, and photos to show. And yes, we celebrated Father’s Day – here’s all the fathers in our church!
And then we all went home to clean up all the mess. Guess that might take days and weeks, there’s a lot to do.
Thank you for your prayers. Please continue. The typhoon may have gone, but the devastation remains. People were killed, missing and injured. Damage to property and to agriculture is huge. But God was merciful, we were spared the worst.
And guess what? In Taipei 101, the highest building in Taiwan, and one of the highest in the world, is a huge ‘damper’ that looks like a massive ball and it swings to and fro in typhoons or earthquakes to keep the building upright. Yesterday in the strongest winds at 7:00am, it was swaying by 2 metres. Amazing. Just glad I wasn’t up there at the time!
Typhoon Soudelor is fast approaching, the strongest typhoon of the year so far. Moving fast in our direction. Having wreaked havoc in Saipan a few days ago, it’s now heading for a direct hit on Taiwan early tomorrow morning before heading to Mainland China….
Actually today has been quite quiet so far up here in the far north of Taiwan, breezy with showers, but big winds and torrential rains expected to start this evening….
The day before a typhoon is often beautiful, with clear blue skies and a glorious sunset. And yesterday was just like that!
This was the beach at Baishawan looking towards the lighthouse at the northern tip of Taiwan…
And the sunset looking in the other direction….
Meanwhile back in Taipei City, at least this temple was on standby yesterday – it can be raised up above the floods as and when necessary…
For current information about the typhoon, try this article….
And please do pray for Taiwan and China over this weekend….