Effects of Typhoon Morakot on Taiwan

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Typhoon Morakot (Kiko)
Typhoon (JMA scale)
Category 1 typhoon (SSHWS)
Typhoon Morakot Aug 7 2009.jpg
Typhoon Morakot approaching Taiwan on August 7
FormedAugust 2, 2009
DissipatedAugust 13, 2009
(Extratropical after August 11, 2009)
Highest winds10-minute sustained: 140 km/h (85 mph)
1-minute sustained: 150 km/h (90 mph)
Lowest pressure945 hPa (mbar); 27.91 inHg
Fatalities789 total
Damage$6.2 billion (2009 USD)
Areas affectedPhilippines, Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, North Korea
Part of the 2009 Pacific typhoon season

Between August 6, 2009, and August 10, 2009, Taiwan was hit by Typhoon Morakot, which brought about unprecedented rainfall and flooding across the country. The incidents surrounding Typhoon Morakot are known as the Eight-Eight Flood (八八水災). The flooding is the most devastating flooding incident since the flooding caused by Typhoon Ellen in 1959. Typhoon Morakot is most remembered for the destruction of Siaolin Village in Jiasian, Kaohsiung.

According to the Government of the Republic of China, 681 people died and 18 people went missing due to the typhoon.[1] The Executive Yuan announced that all flags be placed at half-mast in mourning between August 22 and 24.[2] The government was criticized for reacting slowly to the crisis, causing President Ma Ying-jeou's approval ratings to drop significantly and leading to the resignation of Premier Liu Chao-shiuan[3]

Direct Effects[edit]

Nantou County[edit]

Provincial Highway 16 collapsed, causing seven cars to be washed into the Zhuoshui River.

The most damage done to Nantou County was in Xinyi, which had the greatest rainfall in the county.[4] The currents of the Chenyoulan River caused the foundations of roads and buildings to be wiped away.[5] A building in Longhua Elementary School tilted 30 degrees as a result of the foundations being washed away and was on the verge of falling into the river.[6]

Provincial Highway 16 collapsed between Jiji and Shuili, causing seven cars to be washed into the Zhuoshui River. So far, only four out of fifteen bodies have been recovered.[7]

Tainan County[edit]

Typhoon Morakot caused Zengwen Reservoir, which was originally short on water, to suddenly exceed capacity.[8][9] In response to the excess water, the reservoir released over 100,000,000 liters of water, which is about 80% of the dam's total capacity.[10][11] The release of water caused severe flooding along the Zengwen River; in Xiaobei Village in Madou Township, the water level reached a story high.[12]

Kaohsiung County[edit]

Mud covers the ground after the flooding in Qishan Township.
Landslides caused massive damage to buildings in Namaxia Township.

Kaohsiung County saw over 2,500 millimeters of rainfall within three days (Kaohsiung typically receives the same amount of rain in a year). The rain brought severe floods on the plains and landslides in the mountains. On August 14, Xiaolin Village was completely covered due to a landslide, causing the deaths of 398 people.

Due to the rain, many bridges were washed away, including those on Provincial Highways 20, 21, and 27 and the bridge to the Maolin National Scenic Area. 14 people went missing after a weir under construction was washed away.[13]

Pingtung County[edit]

The army assisting in rebuilding in Jiadong Township.

Pingtung County is one of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon. Due to the collapse of embankment along the Linbian River, there was severe flooding in Linbian and Jiadong, with Jiadong reporting flood depths of two stories. Embankments along the Laonong River also collapsed, causing flooding in Gaoshu. A bridge on Provincial Highway 24 collapsed, effectively cutting off Wutai Township from the rest of the country.

According to the Water Resources Agency, the area with the highest rainfall was in Wanluan Township with 135 millimeters per hour. The total highest rainfall was recorded in Sandimen Township with over 2500 millimeters.[14]

The railways in Pingtung also took a huge hit, with the Pingtung Line taking 6 months to repair.[15] Linbian Train Station's train tracks were entirely covered in mud after severe flooding there.[16]

Taitung County[edit]

A broken bridge on the TRA South Link Line in Taimali Township.

Most of the flooding in Taitung County occurred in the south part of the county, with Daren, Taimali, and Dawu Townships being especially hard hit.

Flooding was especially serious in Zhiben Hot Springs, with 200 meters of its main road washed away. On August 9, the Jinshuai Hotel's (金帥溫泉大飯店) foundations were washed away, and the eight-story hotel toppled over into the Zhiben River. Soon afterward, the top three floors of the hotel were washed away.[17][18]

The TRA South Link Line was also hard hit, with two of its bridges being washed away in Taimali Township.[19] The Taimali River also flooded, destroying a large portion of Taihe Village in Taimali.[20][21]

Other counties[edit]

The embankment along the Zengwen River was damaged.

In Chiayi County, embankments along the Bazhang and Puzi rivers collapsed, causing flooding in Puzi Township.[22] Since the coastal areas are lower in elevation, there was also widespread flooding in Dongshi, Budai, and Yizhu.[23] Many villages in Alishan, Meishan, Zhuqi townships saw flooding and destruction done to their infrastructure. The Alishan Forest Railway saw some serious damage, and repairs took about a year.[24][25]

Central and North Taiwan saw some less severe flooding, with the most serious in Dacheng and Erlin in Changhua County.


The Council of Agriculture estimates that a total of $19.217 billion NTD was lost due to the typhoon, making it the second-costliest typhoon behind Typhoon Herb in 1996. Out of this, farms lost $12.9 billion, fisheries lost $4.7 billion, and livestock lost $1.6 billion.[26]
Twenty bridges were destroyed due to the typhoon, with eight being on a Provincial Highway. Seven of those on a highway were in Kaohsiung or Pingtung.[27][28][29] Additionally, at least 16 landslide dams were formed during the typhoon.[30][31][32]
Most of the damage done to railways are located in the south on the Pingtung, Taitung, and South Link lines. Also, the Alishan Forest Railway saw some serious damage.[33]
Due to Typhoon Morakot, 896,833 houses lost power, and at least 850,000 houses lost their water supply.
According to the Ministry of Education, 1,273 schools were affected by the typhoon, accumulating a loss of $1.87 billion NTD. The National Museum of Prehistory, National Science and Technology Museum, and Fonghuanggu Bird and Ecology Park were all damaged by the typhoon.

Emergency response[edit]

The military assisting in cleanup in Xiaying Township.

The military was dispatched with responding to the disasters all around the country with transporting food and aid around.[39] After the typhoon, soldiers were also used in cleanup and rebuilding.[40] An estimated 15,815 soldiers were used in total. With the assistance of firefighters and policemen, an estimated 41,752 people were rescued.[41]

On August 11, a helicopter delivering aid crashed in the mountains of Pingtung County. All three of its crew were lost.


Domestic Aid[edit]

On August 15, the Executive Yuan formed the "Typhoon Morakot Rebuilding Committee". The 37 person committee was given a budget of $116.5 million NTD to rebuild infrastructure and economic losses. The committee has built 3,481 permanent housing units in 40 locations and repaired most damaged roads.[42] However, there was controversy surrounding the relocation of people to these new housing units.[43]

After the flooding, many organizations began raising money for rebuilding in areas affected by the typhoon. Special programs were aired on national TV to fundraise. Additionally, a fundraising festival named "Spread the Love" was held, featuring prominent TV personalities Matilda Tao, Chang Hsiao-yen, and Shen Chun-hua. The event lasted for 7 hours and was aired on national TV and raised $500 million NTD.

Many large corporations also donated money to the cause, including Chi Mei, Evergreen, Delta Electronics, Foxconn, Formosa Plastics, TSMC, Cathay United Bank, and Asus. The Chunghua Post released a special edition stamp, with all proceeds going to helping rebuild.

Chinese Aid[edit]

The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits donated a total of $450 million Renminbi ($2 billion RMB) to rebuild. They specified that $150 million TWD be used on building 500 units of recovery housing and $1.7 billion TWD be used on rebuilding infrastructure.[44]

The Mainland Affairs Council estimated that around $4 billion NTD was donated by China. Also, around $130 million NTD was donated by Taiwanese companies in China.[45][46][47]

See also[edit]


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  44. ^ [1] 海協會捐助莫拉克風災災區重建款項於1月21日送交內政部賑災專戶
  45. ^ 八八水災大陸捐款 台灣實收已逾新台幣33億 2010-08-26 17:45:23
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  47. ^ 台企聯捐款千萬給海基會轉捐內政部[permanent dead link]