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HOME - an amazingly beautiful wake up wall to what our planet is facing

HOME - an amazingly beautiful wake up wall to what our planet is facing

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Typhoons: Reality Check

While the typhoon last week battered Taipei a bit, I admit I had no idea about the magnitude of disaster typhoons are capable of until recent news about the south of the country! Here are a few online-news quotes:

"... the conditions delayed rescuers from reaching a mountain village where as many as 600 people may have been buried when a hillside crashed on to their homes."

"A part of the mountain above us just fell on the village."

A man stands on a roof as he awaits rescue from heavy flooding in Taiwan

"Television footage shot from helicopters that tried to reach Hsiao Lin village yesterday showed only a few rooftops peeking through rivers of dark grey mud. Almost the entire village had disappeared but about 45 people were brought out alive. The main bridge to the village was also swept away by Typhoon Morakot."

The island has experienced its worst flooding in half a century

"Morakot (meaning emerald in Thai) has dumped a record 2.5m (100in) of rain on the island. The village was still cut off from the outside world Monday evening, after flood waters destroyed a bridge about eight miles (12 kilometers) away. Military helicopters have dropped provisions in the area and rescued survivors."

Local residents received bottled water as they catch fish brought in by floodwaters caused by Typhoon Morakot in Chiatung, Pingtung county, in southern Taiwan

The fury came from the Philippines and moved on to China, also causing deaths and damage in both nations. It has been downgraded to a tropical storm in the last few days. Meanwhile, in Japan typhoon Etau has claimed lives and people were ordered to leave their homes.

A bridge collapses on the Maruyama River, in Asago city, Japan

"Japan was also hit by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake yesterday, with its epicentre in the Pacific Ocean, 90 miles southwest of Tokyo. Although tremors were felt in the capital, there were no reports of casualties. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck 160 miles north of India’s Andaman Islands last night but feared tsunamis did not materialise."

Info and Image Sources: UK's Times Online and NY's Daily News
For more unbelievable photos: Typhoon Morakot and Typhoon Rescues on

Here is one final image from October 7, 2007 in east China’s Jiangsu province.After killing five in Taiwan, Typhoon Krosa crashed into the Chinese coast on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of 1.4 million people.

Wild, wild nature. I recently researched an article on how typhoons are now believed to prevent serious earthquakes in places like eastern Taiwan. Five years of scientific study in the area has shown they set off slow hours-long imperceptible earthquakes that release built-up pressure between tectonic plates. Maybe it's possible they are saving more lives in the long run by taking some now.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Drums and Downpours

August is here and the first big typhoon hit the north of the island, drenching Taipei residents and letting everyone stay home from work and school on Friday. Alas, we were already on break or not scheduled in, so it was just a soaking blustery day with stuff flying around outside. Actually, it was really on and off, so plenty of times when I went outside it was just dripping and blessedly cool. But when the rain and wind picked up.... oh me oh my! It was like being inside a car wash determined to scrub the smallest dirt spots... minus the brushes, I guess!

Even though this was predicted to be a relatively small one as far as typhoons go, I'd never seen the grocery store so packed with frantic shoppers just prior. There were NO VEGETABLES left whatsoever, except for squash which were hidden behind a column. I guess people panicked a bit. It's now early Saturday afternoon and the outside world looks freshly rinsed and feels cool.

August 8th or 8/8 (eight/eight, which is "ba ba" in Chinese and sounds almost the same as "daddy") is Father's Day in Taiwan. At the Buddhist centre we're part of a big shindig is going on today with a feast and 3 hours of performances from the Taiwanese and foreign students. I'm part of an improvised Stomp-inspired 10-minute scene where we use shoes, buckets, water bottles and the floor etc to create a beat with some courageous acrobatics to round off the entertainment factor.

For the next big event in October (appropriately titled Oktoberfest) we're already planning a Bollywood number. Watch for us on tour near you! hahahaha...

Happy August, everyone! Go put some shrimp on the barbie!