Wulai cut off in wake of Soudelor
Residents of devastated area hit by food, supplies shortage
The consequences of Typhoon Soudelor are still being felt, as the area Wulai ( ) has been devastated by severe landslides, cutting the region off from the rest of Taiwan.
The Wulai region was isolated due to extensive landslides and collapses on the Xinwu Road (
), the only transport link connecting Wulai to the outside world. In addition, communication services were also cut off as Chunghwa Telecom’s nearby base stations were damaged.
New Taipei City’s Emergency Operation Center confirmed yesterday that two men who lived in the Wulai region have died as a result of the monster typhoon. They were taken to the hospital by helicopter but didn’t survive after emergency treatment. Another 3,100 people who were trapped were reported safe and 100 others who were missing were also found, the center said yesterday.
According to local news reports, the 100 villagers are now being sheltered at Xiaoyi ( ) Police Station but have been hit by a food shortage. The same problem is affecting the aforementioned 3,100. Food, salt, candles and bleach will be airdropped for them. Premier Mao Chi-kuo, ( ) who toured the front lines to better comprehend the situation yesterday, said that it is more important to restore communications as soon as possible so rescue personnel are able to contact each other.
It is suspected that the mountains around Nanshi River (
) were over-developed, damaging soil and affecting water conservation in Wulai’s slope lands. That in turn led to further landslides following heavy rainfall, said reports.
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu ( ) also stated that once the rescue operation is complete, he will begin a detailed investigation into the suspicions relating to over-development.
The landslides not only shut down communications and trapped villagers, but also affected hot spring businesses in the region. Reports said that outdoor hot spring areas have been completely covered by mud.
Currently, only four- wheeldrive military vehicles can access Xinwu Road at the 10.1 kilometer mark. People who live in Wulai are also able to reach their homes on foot, which takes around an hour, said the reports.
The Ministry of Defense said it have sent a total of 376 people, two shovel loaders and one exca- vator, among other equipment, to assist in the rescue of locals in Wulai and the recovery after the disaster. Two helicopters and 36 people from the R.O.C. Army Special Forces are also assisting in the operation and sending the wounded to hospitals. The Ministry of Defense also called on the public to watch out for landslides, collapses and falling rocks.
1. Premier Mao Chi-kuo ( ), right in front row, orange vest, inspects the damage by Wulai Bridge, yesterday. Huge landslides and collapses occurred in Wulai after the typhoon, allegedly due to over-development in the area. 2. Locals from Wulai ( ) wait at the control point with their own supplies, yesterday. Typhoon Soudelor damaged roads in Wulai, cutting the area off.
3. A victim trapped in Wulai alights from the UH-1H helicopter sent by the army, yesterday. The helicopters are being used to transfer patients to hospitals from the mountainous area.