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Extreme torrential rain causes severe damage to crops and infrastructure

Taiwan’s economic losses incurred from extreme torrential rain could be in the billions

Agricultural crops in southern Taiwan completely submerged in water.

Agricultural crops in southern Taiwan completely submerged in water. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Although Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has not released official figures on the total economic losses incurred from the extreme torrential rainfall over the last few days, certain industries have reported severe damage.

Farmers have been particularly hard hit by flash floods, and reported a total loss exceeding NT$40 million (US$1.33 million) as of Sunday noon, reported UDN.

Hardest hit regions included Yunlin County, amounting to 54 percent of losses or NT$21.69 million, followed by New Taipei City's NT$9.36 million (23 percent), and Chiayi County's NT$4.23 million (11 percent), and Changhua County's NT$2.28 million (6 percent).

Some rice paddies were completely submerged by the floods in Yunlin County, so it is no surprise rice was the agricultural crop most affected by the deluges that ensued from heavy torrential rains, reporting a loss of NT$11.46 million, according to the Council of Agriculture (COA).

Other crops affected by floods included watermelons, peanuts, corn, and mushrooms.

A mushroom farmer claimed to have lost NT$150,000 in one day, while another poultry farmer lost equipment and chicken feed to the rain and reported a loss of NT$50 million.

Overflowing fishery ponds in Yunlin County resulted in the escape of thousands of catfish to nearby ditches, causing the fish farmer to lose most of his prized fish to hundreds of villagers who scrambled to catch a free catfish for dinner.

Aside from agricultural losses, mudslides and rockslides caused by the heavy rains have also led to the destruction of five houses in Nantou County and swept away 12 houses in Kaohsiung City.

More people are being evacuated from villages in mountainous areas that are prone to landslides, mudslides, and rockslides as part of safety preventive measures during this time period.

The New Taipei City government has evacuated 1,724 people in advance as the torrential rain front shifts back north.

Large government investments will be required to repair critical infrastructure in the near future, including three damaged bridges, the Northern Cross-Island Highway, the Southern Cross-Island Highway, and Alishan Mountain Highway.

Bridges completely destroyed by the flood include Kuang River Bridge (磺溪橋) in Jinshan District of New Taipei City, Longhua Bridge (龍華橋) and Aicun Bridge (愛村橋)in Nantou County.

The New Taipei City government estimates repairs for the Kuang River Bridge will cost between NT$50 million and NT$100 million, but no figures for the other two broken bridges have been released yet.

Keelung City Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) projects losses incurred by the city over the last few days from flooding caused by the extreme torrential rain reached NT$400 million.

A total of 384 flights were canceled from June 2 to June 4, including two international flights. More than 100,000 passengers were affected by canceled or delayed flights, according to Apple Daily estimates.

As the rain continues unabated, more flooding is expected throughout the island, resulting in larger economic losses.

Updated : 2021-05-08 12:36 GMT+08:00