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September 24, 2017

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Rain wreaks havoc across nation, Keelung rocked

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Heavy rain wreaked havoc in many parts of Taiwan yesterday, hitting Keelung particularly hard in the north, and forcing the southern city of Tainan to suspend school and work for the evening.

The government issued flood warnings for Keelung, New Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung, but so far no casualties were reported in the four cities.

President Ma Ying-jeou attended a flood-related emergency meeting at the Water Resources Agency yesterday evening.

Keelung's railway station was flooded, disrupting train traffic in northern areas. But services returned to normal at about 4:20 p.m.

 Many other parts of the northern port city, including the popular Miaokou night market and some of its major roads, were also submerged in water as high as 20 cm, the Central News Agency reported.

A house standing on a slope near Bisha Fishing Port in Zhongshan District collapsed in a mudslide. Two women were inside, but managed to escape unharmed.

The owner of the house said she had been living there for more than 30 years, but had never seen any disaster like that before.

She said she was sad to see the house gone but was relieved that the two women — who are her daughters — were safe.

The city's fire department sealed off the area, while public work personnel worked to prevent further mudslides.

Also near Bishao Fishing Port, a huge rock about 5 meters high rolled down a hill slope and hit a car passing by. The right front of the car was smashed, but the driver was not injured, firefighters said.

The rock was in the middle of the road, disrupting traffic. City officials said it was difficult to remove a rock of such size, and traffic was not scheduled to return to normal until late last night.

According to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), urban areas in Keelung recorded 94.5 mm of precipitation in one hour between 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and accumulated rainfall from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. reached 174 mm.

In New Taipei's Ruifang, rainfall of 193 mm was recorded in three hours of downpour, which started at about 1 p.m., flooding many parts of the district.

The famous Juming Museum in the mountains of Jinshan, New Taipei, had to call off an evening event because of safety concerns.

In Tainan, which was ravaged by flooding last week during Tropical Storm Kong-Rey, the city government was on high alert as it braced for more torrential rains.

Accumulated rainfall in the southern city's mountainous areas has already reached 800 mm over the last three days.

The city government announced at 5:15 p.m. that all school and work would be suspended for the night.

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