TAIPEI, Taiwan – TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Residents waded through ankle-deep mud to clean up their homes Tuesday, after massive flooding spawned by a powerful typhoon killed two people in southern Taiwan, and caused tens of millions of dollars of damage.
Typhoon Fanapi made a direct hit on the island Sunday, dumping more than 40 inches (one meter) of rain in some places. After crossing Taiwan, it slammed into southern China.
Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center said the two victims drowned, one in a pond, the other in a drainage ditch, when flash flooding hit their communities. It put overall damage to farms and fisheries at NT$2 billion ($62.5 million), while the Economics Ministry said another NT$2 billion in damage was suffered by the island's industrial sector.
Fanapi was the first major storm to strike the island this year and the 11th typhoon to hit China. It landed in Fujian province, according to the flood control headquarters, but did little damage there, since it had weakened significantly after achieving peak winds of 102 mph (162 kph) in Taiwan.
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said as much as 44 inches (112 centimeters) of rain had been dumped in southern Taiwan by early Monday. TV images showed water submerging streets and first floors of buildings.
Military vehicles entered inundated areas to help trapped residents in the southern part of the island, including Taiwan's second largest city Kaohsiung.
Schools and offices were closed in southern Taiwan and the affected parts of China on Monday.
Officials evacuated 10,000 residents from remote areas vulnerable to landslides, half of them in the southern part of the island, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.
Landslides caused by torrential rains are traditionally the greatest danger the typhoons bring to this island of 23 million people, which is riven by a series of tall mountains and narrow valleys dotted with hundreds of isolated farming communities.