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Typhoon Haikui Strikes Taiwan

Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia are some of the Asian countries that are the most vulnerable to extreme weather events. According to the World Meteorological Organization, 81 water-related hazards have been observed in Asia in 2022 with over 83% being flood and storm events. This is mainly because of the abundance of low-lying, long, and populated coastlines situated in Asia. As a result, rising sea levels and heavy storms increase the vulnerability of the Asian population every year since natural disasters such as typhoons are more common.

(AFP/via Aljazeera)

One such event is observed in Taiwan on 3 September 2023 where Typhoon Haikui showed effect, confirming the prediction of the Central Weather Bureau (CWB). Hence, people were given time to evacuate into safety. The typhoon started out as a gentle storm which gradually intensified and became a Category 2 when it reached the Philippine Sea. It then struck Taiwan, generating its power from the warm sea temperatures, to become a Category 3 typhoon. Typhoon Haikui thus became the first Category 3+ typhoon to hit Taiwan since Typhoon Megi/Helen in 2016.

According to the Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan, the typhoon struck Taitung at 3:40 pm local time. The Typhoon then downgraded into a severe tropical storm as it moved to China’s Southeastern Fujian province on September 5 after hovering over Taiwan for two days. The Typhoon brought with it an unprecedented amount of heavy rainfall to China. This led to landslides and flooding which resulted in economic as well as social damages since cars were swept away and roads were blocked— slowing down the speed at which rescue operators reached the area.

According to the authorities, no deaths have been reported but over 40 people have been injured. These injuries were reported to mostly be a result of uprooted trees collapsing on buildings and cars. Meanwhile, economic damages affected the country badly with communication links being damaged and infrastructure being destroyed. This was a result of Taiwan’s vulnerability and unpreparedness, leading to a longer recovery period. Mass evacuations and the temporary shutting down of buildings and schools took place in order to prevent further injuries and not result in any casualties. Domestic flights have also been canceled for the same purpose. Fishing boats have been anchored to the harbor at Su-ao port in Yilan on the same day in preparation for the storm and the resultant rainfall.

(AFP/via Aljazeera)

The primary hazards that followed the typhoon include torrential rain and strong winds. The heavy rain brought by the typhoon resulted in flash floods and landslides. As a result of these hazards, more than 7000 people were forced to evacuate. The winds reached up to 200km/h (124 mph), forcing people to take immediate shelter. Power outages affected 160,000 people as Taiwan was underprepared, leading to malnourishment and lack of sanity until power was back. However, rescue and clean-up operations were able to respond the day after, bringing cities back to order in no time.

The recovery operations in Taiwan following the Typhoon included the cleaning of roads and repairing houses. No further operations have been announced by the authorities regarding the recovery process. Meanwhile, the disruptions and evacuations are ongoing in China, prolonging the recovery stage even more.

(I-Hwa Cheng/Getty Images)

Although no deaths have been reported, the economic toll was extremely high in both Taiwan and China. According to local authorities, the Typhoon caused more than 5 billion yuan (US$683 million) in economic losses to East China's Fujian province so far. Meanwhile, agricultural and economic damages are reported to have exceeded NT$258 million (US$8.09 million) in Taiwan according to the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

Works cited:

  • World Meteorological Organization- ”Climate Change Impacts Increase in Asia”

  • Wikipedia- “2023 Pacific Typhoon Season”

  • BBC- “Typhoon Haikui: Dozens Injured After Storm Sweeps Taiwan”

  • Guardian- “More Than 40 People Injured as Typhoon Haikui Sweeps Across Taiwan”

  • Aljazeera- “Typhoon Haikui Makes Landfall in Taiwan, Unleashing Rain and Fierce Winds”

  • China Daily- “Typhoon Haikui Causes Significant Damage in Fujian”


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