Friday, September 4, 2009

Typhoon Morakat photo story

Photographer: Chien-chung Chen

Born in 1968, Mr. Chien-chung Chen is studying at the Graduate School for Social Transformation Studies, Shih-Hsin University, Taipei, Taiwan. His interests include: reading, writing, painting, traveling, taking photos, and enjoying music. Nicknamed “pipe smoker,” he keeps a blog: Here are some translated excerpts from his blog.

"In the aborigine tribe in Chialan village, eastern Taitung County, the people evacuated in time, but their homes washed away. The villagers had learned its lesson after the 2005 typhoon destroyed a dozen homes. A senior tribesman said that the river was 150 meters wide in the early 1900s under the Japanese rule. That width was decided by Mother Nature. But in recent decades, the river shrank to 50 meters wide because overdevelopments changed the land usage of the riverbed and higher embankments were built to change the river's path. The flooding by Morakat moved everything back to its original width, the path designed by Mother Nature.”

“Another astonishing view I found during this trip was the floating wood covering all the ocean surfaces in Fukang fishery harbor. Local residents told me that this was the 'masterpiece of mountain rats,' who had been illegally logging in the mountains for years. They cut the trees in haste and sometimes forget or are pressed for time to move the trees down. Typhoon Morakat swept all the remaining trees to the river and it flowed down to the harbor.”

A graveyard of floating wood swept down from illegal logging on the mountains, gathering near the ocean in Fukang Harbor.

Human beings should respect and co-exist with Mother Nature to avoid its eventual backlashes.

A broad view on life is needed to comfort the souls of the survivors.

Volunteers from Tzu Chi Foundation are always the first ones to reach the disaster areas to offer help and relief materials.

Collapsed houses seen from the riverbed in Chialan, Taitung.

Flooding river water washed away 2 rows of houses already, leaving the collapsed one on the 3rd row on the riverbed. A total of 51 houses were demolished in Chialan, one of the worst hit villages.
Two lifelines of Taitung County were cut off by Typhoon Morakat. The highway was destroyed by a rush of water, and the railroad was broken into sections.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.