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September 23, 2017

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Typhoon deprives villagers of water, electricity

The China Post news staff--Many parts of Taiwan have yet to recover from the damage inflicted by Typhoon Saola, and many residents in affected areas still lack access to clean water and electricity.

Nanshan and Siji, two neighboring small villages in the mountains of Yilan County, have been completely isolated after the only road leading to them was badly damaged by landslides triggered by heavy rainfall last week.

Saola dumped 2,000 millimeters of rain in the area surrounding the two villages in the northeastern county in three days. Water and electricity supply to the almost 2,000 villagers have been completely cut off.

Yilan County Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien and rescuers delivered food and bottled water to the villagers by helicopter.

Around 100 people, including pregnant women, children and the ill, were airlifted to safety.

The villagers expressed worries over hygiene due to the lack of water and electricity, asking that supply be resumed as soon as possible. They also expressed the hope that the road will be reopened soon.

Transport authorities said the road will not be reopened until Aug. 10, and in the meantime technicians have to walk or be airlifted to the villages to repair the utility lines.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou visited the Saola-devastated Hualien County in Eastern Taiwan. Many parts of Hualien were badly hit by mudslides.

A large number of village houses remained buried in mud as the president arrived to survey the gravity of the disasters. Many residents gathered around, standing on the roofs of their damaged homes to see what the president had to say.

Ma promised that the central government will do its utmost to help the affected to rebuild their homes or have them relocated.

One of the village chiefs revealed that when the mudslide hit, villagers had to climb onto roofs and wait for help — the very same spots they were now standing while listening to the president.

The chief said the villagers need shelters, but the ultimate question is whether their villages need to be rebuilt somewhere else.

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