Tropical storm Kong-Rey kills three in Taiwan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 3:33pm

At least three people were killed when torrential rain brought by tropical storm Kong-Rey caused widespread flooding in the south of Taiwan, the government in Taipei said on Friday.

A 20-year-old man riding a motorcycle drowned after he fell into a gutter in southern Pingtung county while a 50-year-old woman was electrocuted in western Yunlin area, according to the National Fire Agency, which co-ordinates rescue efforts.

Also in Yunlin, another woman died trying to get to work during the storm, the agency and media reports said.

Houses and streets in the south were inundated by floodwater as deep as three metres when Kong-Rey pounded the island with heavy rains on Thursday, disrupting traffic, power supplies and forcing offices and schools to close.

Television footage showed rescuers using rubber boats to help evacuate people to safety while cars were submerged on roads in several southern counties in some of the worst flooding the region has experienced in recent years.

The storm also caused NT$187 million (HK$48.42 million) in agricultural damage in the south, as more than 3,500 hectares of rice paddies and orchids were destroyed or damaged, the Council of Agriculture said.

In July, typhoon Soulik lashed the island with powerful winds and downpours that left two people dead and at least 100 injured. Last week, tropical storm Trami forced the authorities in Taiwan to close offices and cancel nearly 200 international flights.