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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aftermath of Morakot

In three days, Typhoon Morakot dumped almost three meters of rain in parts of Taiwan, which is approximately the average rain fall for the whole year. Scores of bridges and roads were destroyed. Several villages were completely wiped out by the mud slide, thousands of people are now homeless, and hundreds of people are dead, many buried alive.

The local news coverage of the aftermath of the typhoon has been quite frantic and piecemeal. For the past few days I had a hard time comprehending the scale of the disaster. It was only when Taiwan's Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research (中央大學太空遙測中心) released the satellite images of some of the affected area that I finally had a better grasp of the disaster areas.

Below is a before and after image of 太麻里鄉 (Taimali Township) in 台東 (Taitung) that I put together to show the impact of the typhoon. The image on the left is taken from Google map, which is before the typhoon. The image on the right is a satellite image taken on August 12, 2009. The width of the small river expanded three to four times and engulfed farmlands and houses.

The reconstruction of many parts of Taiwan is expected to take years and some of the villages destroyed may be gone forever.

1 comment:

  1. I've read that there is public outcry about the government's slow and inadequate response to the disaster. Some have even called for the president's resignation, which sounds a little moronic to me. But I'm just getting tidbits here in the States, don't know what the real story sounds like over there in Taiwan.